FotoFest’s choice to show Leo Ramadinha’s voyeuristic imagery of young people participating in COVID-safe online Zoom raves is surprisingly transgressive. Of all the fallout that came from being isolated, unsure of any future normalcy, the parties that came out of the pandemic have been salty and delightful. The celebrations that Ramadinha has been screencapping are decentralized, separated from the club into the bedrooms of individual partiers. Under the conditions of a worsening pandemic, the title Last Party, which itself is taken from a Portuguese figure of speech, is a euphemism for morbid excitement.
The online exhibition features screenshots of the online party circuit in Rio de Janeiro, which are grainy and dark, often awash in green and red ambient light. The nature of the show is the intersection of lots of unlikely things: low-quality photography in an era of rampant technological advance, individuals partying as if they were unafraid of the circumstances that made them so isolated, and succor intermixed with ambiguity. The showing of these slides is an annunciation that party photography has created a new category for itself under duress. The events documented here have had continued success as pandemic controls have lightened up. To activate the exhibition, Fotofest hosted an online party of its own on February 16, attended by Ramadinha and Djs Thaísa Laffitte and Cristiano Marinho. If the momentum for these events grows, the last party won’t be for quite some time.