The Critical Practices Program at Museo Reina Sofía has organised two seminars for 2012; one focuses on the body as archive ( Somatheque ) and the other examines the city as the scenario of contemporary socio-political tensions ( Metropolis ).
The work of the artist Sharon Hayes (whose solo showHabla takes place from May 30 through September 24, 2012) cuts through both of these themes. This activity sets up a dialogue between the artist and the students of the Critical Practices Program, and the general public interested in the subject, while marking the opening of her exhibition at the Museum.
For over a decade Sharon Hayes' artistic activity has explored the friction between collective actions and private acts, examining the strategies of political representation both in historical or archival terms and in their current form, in a present that places the political in the middle of the personal and the collective. Her work has developed, through performance, video and installation art, the memory of activist practices in urban protests, in the speech of public discourses and in the organization and staging of demonstrations. By doing so, Sharon Hayes weaves together history, politics and public space, while making use of cinematographic, documentary, theatrical and performative elements.
The other participant at this encounter is Beatriz Preciado, who coordinates Somatheque. Biopolitical production, feminisms, queer and trans practices, a seminar that, within the concept of activist research, considers the body to be a political and cultural archive, in which the personal and political notion of body is the product of the discourses regarding gender, race and class, biopolitical technologies which, as Michel Foucault pointed out, are in constant change and negotiation. With this conceptualisation, Beatriz Preciado seeks to replace the traditional category of body with that of archive, which, from a feminist, queer and anticolonial perspective, analyses these technologies, the somatheque.
This conversation understand artistic practices and theories based on the archive and memory to be an impulse that, far from melancholy or nostalgia, is able to invent instances of critical resistance which encompass, in their ambiguity, moments that break with the past. Similarly, it seeks to bring the Museum's exhibition program into contact with its research community.