Initially associated with the Rio de Janeiro-based Neo-Concretist group, Hélio Oiticica later became one of the key figures of Brazil’s Tropicália movement. During his stay in New York, and in collaboration with film-maker Neville D’Almeida, Oiticia conceived Block-Experiments in Cosmococa – program in progress (1973–74), a series of nine ‘supra-sensorial’ environments, each incorporating slide projections, soundtracks, cocaine powder drawings and a set of instructions for visitors. The work is the epitome of what Oiticica called his ‘quasi-cinemas’ and constitutes his desire to merge individual ‘life-experience’ with art.
In this book, Sabeth Buchmann and Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz consider the influence the New York underground scene and Brazilian avant-garde cinema, as well as concrete poetry and the writings of Marshall McLuhan, Henri Bergson, and others had on the Cosmococas. For the authors, the work forms the basis for an extensive investigation of media theory in art, through analysis of its experimentation with duration, and its blurring of formats, languages and modes of spectatorship.