Zombie Cattle, a video series by CalArts alum Rodrigo Arruda (Art MFA 22), is currently featured in the virtual exhibition at BIENALSUR, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of the South running through March 31.
Derived from Arruda’s original CalArts thesis exhibition, Zombie Cattle delves into the complex dynamics of colonial relations between Brazil and the US. The series presents various video works, some of which showcase interpreters from Brazil and Argentina performing Arruda’s Zombie Cattle Manifesto in sign language. Addressing the historical significance of livestock production in environmental degradation and the obliteration of indigenous tribes, the videos challenge the conventional imagery of cattle horns, often associated with dominant masculinity.
In Arruda’s manifesto, the concept of zombie cattle emerges as a powerful symbol—creatures that have lost their lives yet adamantly refuse to surrender. According to Arruda’s artist statement, zombie cattle are “no longer edible” and possess the ability to assimilate colonizers into the herd, forcing them to confront their suppressed cannibalistic desires. Beyond this, the series explores the diverse capabilities of sign languages, investigating their potential to describe, imagine, and connect with individuals who may be beyond the reach of verbal languages.
Developed by the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) in Argentina, BIENALSUR serves as an expansive and inclusive platform for contemporary art, culture, and reflection. The virtual edition includes 44 videos produced by more than 30 artists from 17 countries.
Zombie Cattle can be accessed at Bienal Sur Sede Virtual.