The 1981 Mail Art exhibition, which was presented at the same time as the sixteenth Bienal de São Paulo, helped to legitimize (although also “dilute”) this kind of art. Given the countless number of participating artists and works exhibited—most of which were small—the overall effect of the exhibition confirmed the hypothesis advanced by the creator of the event, Julio Plaza, the Spanish graphic artist who lived in São Paulo and who noted the anarchic, excessive, and contradictory nature of Mail Art when, in its desperate bid to be considered serious art, it enters the enemy terrain of official institutions. Walter Zanini was the curator general of that biennial.
The multimedia artist, professor, and theoretician Julio Plaza (1938–2003) was a well-known figure in the world of Brazilian Conceptual and electronic art, acknowledged for his graphic versions of several concrete poems. He worked with the poet Augusto de Campos to produce books and objects such as Poemóbiles (1974) and Caixa Preta (1975). He was a professor at the Departamento de Multimeios do Instituto de Artes da UNIcamp (in Campinas), and the Departamento de Artes Plásticas at the ECA/USP (Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo). He organized the first videotext exhibition in Brazil: Arte pelo Telefone: Videotexto (São Paulo: Museu da Imagem e do Som, 1982), where he was responsible for the new media salon at the seventeenth Bienal de São Paulo (1983), which introduced electronic art to Brazil. In his doctoral thesis (published later as a book), Plaza discussed his ideas for an inter-semiotic translation that converts literary texts into visual and audible codes.
Zanini wrote two essays about Plaza’s work: one of them was about “Poéticas Visuaisz” (doc. no 1110585); the other was about the “Primeiros tempos da arte/tecnologia no Brasil” (1111029)].
[As complementary reading see the ICAA digital archive for the following essays written by the author: “77: quase-apresentação” (1110719); “Arte e interatividade: autor-obra-recepção” (1111093); “Arte e videotexto” (1111090); “Busca da dimensão mais firme para a realidade” (1110750); “Câmara obscura” (doc. no. 1110718); “Imagemega” (1111133); “Info foto: grafias” (1111091); “O livro como forma de arte (I)” (1111238); “O livro como forma de arte (II)” (1111239); “Manifiesto pro integración” (1110751); “Nem oito, nem oitenta: oi, tô aí” (1111270); “Poéticas visuais” (1110587); and “Transcriar” (1111237)].