When confronting twentieth-century political oppression and violence, writers and artists in Portugal and South America have often emphasized the complex relationship between freedom and tyranny. In Seeing Politics Otherwise, Patricia Vieira uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore the interrelation of politics and representations of vision and blindness in Latin American and Iberian literature, film, and art.
Vieira's discussion focuses on three literary works: Graciliano Ramos's Memoirs of Prison, Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden, and José Saramago's Blindness, with supplemental analyses of sculpture and film by Ana Maria Pacheco, Bruno Barreto, and Marco Bechis. These artists use metaphors of blindness to denounce the totalizing gaze of dictatorial regimes. Rather than equating blindness with deprivation, Vieira argues that shadows, blindfolds, and blindness are necessary elements for re-imagining the political world and re-acquiring a political voice. Seeing Politics Otherwise offers a compelling analysis of vision and its forcible deprivation in the context of art and political protest.