Valorising Popular Culture
In the 2003 Carnival, I was overcome by the desire to take part in a parade carrying a standard. But being a typical Brazilian, I left everything to the last minute. Only on the Friday did I begin to construct my standard with plastic PVC piping and white flour sacks. I still needed paint for graffiting it. I arrived very late at the paint shop and the doors were being closed and would only open again after the Carnival. In spite of my appeals the shopkeeper was in no mood for being convinced and shut the door in my face... I did not know, at the time, that from that uncustomary fact would arise a new Recife carnival group: The Nothing Group.
Today, fifteen years on, the Nothing has become a meeting point for hundreds of revellers, both men and women, on Carnival Monday. It is a group that is strengthening street carnival more and more, against the current trend of the culture makers who want to turn the greatest popular festival in Pernambuco into a commodity for marketing purposes. Unfortunately, the proposal to decentralise the points of popular culture expression is undergoing a setback. While the great national artistic attractions get millions in subsidies, the local popular culture attractions, some of which have been in existence for more than a hundred years, get minimal subsidies and no government support at all. It is quite obvious: the large publicity firms and major producers think only on large profit, and never on the valorising of popular culture.
Those who look at the purely white standard of the Nothing Group are mistaken if they think that the group has no content. I discovered that the Nothing has everything. It has the potential for preventing the street festival from dying.