Thick Forest of the South (2019)

Raffaella Fryer-Moreira & Erick Marques Polidoro

360 video


Thick Forest of the South presents an immersive interrogation of the vast monoculture plantations of sugar cane, soya, and corn which characterise the landscape, ecology, and economy of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul. While the name of the state translates into english as “thick forest of the south”, over the last 50 years all forest has been completely cleared and replaced with these vast plantations, owned by multinational corporations, whose genomes have been designed and patented by Monsanto laboratories in the US. The monoculture ecologies visible here are inherently prone to attack, as the single-food source provides an ideal environment for pests. These ecologies need regular treatment with pesticides to be maintained - chemicals whose design can be traced back to the chemists employed by Nazi concentration camps - which poison the few remaining sources of clean water upon which the Guarani Kaiowá rely. One scene depicts gravestones marking the casualties of armed land conflicts with farmers. These landscapes make visible both the plantation ecologies of the anthropocene, and, in their absence, signals those for whom there is no longer space. The Guarani Kaiowá speculate the future they see: “the end of the world will come about as a result of agribusiness”.

Favela Transmission (2016)

Digital video and photographic documentation of guerilla projection of a video installation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.​

"This video is part of an ethnographic project in Morro da Babilônia and Chapéu Mangueira, a favela complex in Rio de Janeiro. It documents the communities’ oldest residents, at a time when the community is undergoing significant demographic change. As a resident I began to realise that local histories were told and learnt through the oral narratives of the communities’ oldest members. I documented these oral histories that revealed the networks of kinship and alliance that made up the communities’ close-knit social bonds, and became aware of the role these relationships played in the constitution of the physical architecture of the favela itself. The stairways, houses, and even electricity poles were built through mutirão —a local concept which describes community members coming together to construct the favela’s self-made infrastructure. While traditional documentary formats often use images of local scenery as “covering shots” to overlay interviews, here the format is reversed, and the faces of the favelas’ residents are projected onto the brick walls, stairways, and the physical surfaces that make up the favela, highlighting the personal histories that are embedded in its walls."

Midiativistas : the affective elsewheres of Rio de Janeiro

I conducted twelve months of immersed fieldwork (2014 - 2015) among groups of midiativistas or media-activists in Rio de Janeiro. The affective potency of the videos they produced pointed to the different kinds of knowledge facilitated by audiovisual documents, when compared to textual accounts,  raising questions surrounding the role of video in anthropological practice. 

This video documents a demonstration in Rio de Janeiro in protests against the Fifa World Cup games, and was made in collaboration with five other midiativistas.

Human Rights: audiovisual evidence

My work (2014 - 2016) as anthropological consultant and documentarist for the Human Rights Commission of Rio de Janeiro (CDHAJ-RJ) led me to reflect on the deployment of audiovisual documents as legal evidence. 

This video documents the human rights violations experienced by numerous indigenous amerindian communities who are being displaced by the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam. 



Films produced in collaboration with the Human Rights Commission of the OAB of Rio de Janeiro

  • (2016) Itambi: a fishing community - 8 min. Short film looking at the threatened livelihoods of a traditional fishing community in Rio de Janeiro.

  • (2015) Belo Monte: a human tragedy - 18 min. Short documentary looking at the Belo Monte dam on Xingú River, examining its impact on indigenous populations and the legal irregularities it presents.

  • (2015) Karitiana: the struggle for land rights - 7 min. Short film looking at the Karitiana indigenous group of northern Rondônia and their struggle for land rights.

  • (2015) Agricultural workers: the struggle for land rights - 6 min. Short film looking at the land claims made by agricultural workers in Rondônia, and the violence and repression they experience.

  • (2015) Quilombo São José da Serra - 6 min. Short film looking at the traditions and struggles of a quilombo community in Rio de Janeiro.

  • (2015) Litter-pickers in Jardim Gramacho - 7 min. Short film looking at the lives of litter pickers in Rio de Janeiro’s largest landfill site.

  • (2014) The Guanabara Bay: a death is announced - 27 min. Documentary looking at the devastating impact of Brazil’s petrochemical industry on the livelihoods of traditional fishermen in Rio de Janeiro.