“Passion of the Same”: Cacique de Ramos and the Multidão

This article analyzes a series of photographs taken by the Brazilian artist Carlos Vergara between 1972 and 1975 that picture the Rio de Janiero-based carnival bloco Cacique de Ramos, whose characteristic black-and-white costumes fantastically approximate indigenous Amerindian attire. Taken at the height of the military dictatorship, when the pressure to conform to a singular nationalist identity was extreme, the photographs probe the potentialities and desire for group identification within a structure of horizontal rather than hierarchical affiliation. The essay argues that the photographs offer of speculative paradigm of intersubjective identification: a mapping of difference from deep within what the Brazilian anthropologist Eduardo Viveiros de Castro called a “passion of the same.” This paradigm is contiguous, yet distinct from the contemporary concept of “the multitude,” and suggests how an opposition of self and other might be transformed into a transversal operation of different-equal-same.

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