One to One

An Artist’s Critique of Colonialism in Brazil
Centered on Brazil’s northeastern region, Jonathas de Andrade’s One to One dramatizes exchanges between the colonizer and colonized, between the haves and have-nots.
Commissioned by the MCA for the exhibition, de Andrade’s “Jogos dirigidos” (Directed games) (2019) plays with the conventions of educational films. The film documents a community with an unusually high prevalence of deafness in the isolated town of Várzea Queimada, in which people communicate through an unofficial form of sign language. De Andrade leaves many of these gestures untranslated, providing glosses of some afterwards, like so many video flashcards. Since only certain phrases are defined, it is difficult to follow the thread of the story, allowing the film’s subjects to hover between intelligibility and incomprehensibility in a way that underscores our shared humanity while acknowledging the very real barriers that divide us. Through “Jogos dirigidos” and its other works, One to One dramatizes exchanges between colonizer and colonized, between the global north and the global south, between the haves and the have-nots — exchanges that are anything but equal.

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