Things come slowly to Brazil. Not just flat screen TV’s and social change, but ideas too. I think it takes a while for international concepts to filter down through the tropical haze. But once they do and are given time to be “devoured” (as the Tropicalistas say) and assimilated by the cultural machine, they are spun back out on the world with a distinctive style – and frequently as a befuddling non-sequitur.
On the flag it is written "Order and Progress." But it doesn’t make mention of any timeline. Brazil seems to move along according to its own internal measure not unlike the unclassifiable samba whose subtle rhythmic bending makes it impossible to program into a computerized drum machine. Ideas in the rest of the world may fly by at the speed of a sound bite while Brazil’s response seems much more looping and intuitive than reactionary.
Modernism is a perfect example of this. It came relatively late to Brazil and came all at once so that it was essentially swallowed whole. The result was the country gave birth to its own fully-formed movement that has never entirely gone out of style.
I found these wonderful postcards in a junk shop. They are announcement cards for AM radio stations. I love their populist mid-century look so I was surprised when I saw the dates on the reverse that put them in the early 80’s. In the final years of the dictatorship whoever designed these was still having fun with the look of Soviet style propaganda. Perhaps it was intentional, trying to convey the onward march of progress. Or perhaps it was subversive, using a style that was popularized as a way of promoting labor unions and workers rights.