Exposing the Event. A Curatorial Investigation of the Aesthetics of Novelty in the Portuguese Revolution

Rito, Carolina. 2016. Exposing the Event. A Curatorial Investigation of the Aesthetics of Novelty in the Portuguese Revolution. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Exposing the Event dissertation sets up the curatorial as an aesthetic investigative practice able to read the representations and manifestations of the ‘new’—and what they efface—in the expanded field of cultural activity. Through a curatorial approach the ‘new’ is examined as a constellation of aesthetic manifestations and exposures, only able to signify under an apparatus that renders them visible, sayable and thinkable (Rancière, 2004). Considering a historical event as a cultural manifestation of the new, the Portuguese Revolution (1974-1976) serves as the framework of this investigation. The three chapters draw on visual and aural material—documentary, essay and militant cinema—of the Portuguese Revolution, made during the PREC (Ongoing Revolutionary Process) and in the present.

Chapter One introduces the film Torre Bela (Harlan, 1977) set in Portugal during the Carnation Revolution, in order to problematise the mechanisms of ‘event’ production as an unexpected manifestation of a historical new. Chapter Two explores the notion of the ‘return of the secret gaze’ (Kuster, 2007) in order to disclose a multiplicity of layers of representation in the exhibitionary space of Torre Bela. Chapter Three addresses the ‘right to narrate’ unmoving histories through Grada Kilomba’s intervention in the film Conakry (César, 2013) and the haunted memories of Ventura in Horse Money (Costa, 2014). The proposed readings aim to address the ‘non-revolted’ affects of the post-revolutionary present.

A series of transcriptions, images and performative texts are woven into the dissertation. These materials include an interview with Pedro Costa (2015), and an array of stills from Torre Bela (1977). Their insertion aims to animate the curatorial as an investigative practice capable of intersecting different registers of material and set them in dialogue.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Curatorial, Portuguese Revolution, Politics of Aesthetics, Aesthetics, Novelty

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


30 June 2016

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2016 11:37

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 15:24



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