The Politics and Aesthetics of Memory Chair

Violence, Fear and Affection

From 20 to 24 September 2021 - 6pm
Free access
Online platform
Nelly Richard
Organised by
Museo Reina Sofía
Education programme developed with the sponsorship of the Banco Santander Foundation
The Laura Rodig Brigade from the 8M Feminist Coordinator (CF8M), Historic Women. Intervention during the general feminist strike, Plaza Baquedano, Santiago de Chile, 8 March 2020
The Laura Rodig Brigade from the 8M Feminist Coordinator (CF8M), Historic Women. Intervention during the general feminist strike, Plaza Baquedano, Santiago de Chile, 8 March 2020

The health crisis affecting the world and the ensuing economic and social disarray has left indelible marks on daily lives, on the bodies of those precariously inhabiting them and on neoliberal capitalism’s circuits of economic and commercial exchanges, which have been abruptly halted and interrupted. The pandemic, precipitating lockdowns leaving individuals isolated and emptying cities, has created a favourable setting for disciplining entire populations and placing them under surveillance, while the most vulnerable side of different existences surviving in total defencelessness owing to a lack of resources and rights has been brought to light during it. The pandemic has also sparked violence which the cruelty of the system of capitalist domination metes out to those subjects deemed useless or surplus. Furthermore, it has spread dread and occasioned elemental fears which, in the global context of frail and flawed democracies, are used by the Right and Far Right to lead their neo-fascist campaigns against those fighting for the emancipation of bodies and minds.

We already know that neoliberalism is not solely an economic doctrine or a series of governance methods, but rather a regime of signs that captures subjectivities in a framework of professional competencies and advertising gratuities promoting the individualism of efficiency and consumerism, breaking all community links in the process. Feminist power and its women’s organisations has imparted knowledge on how to recreate micropolitical ties that range from collective struggles protesting sexual violence to the defence of an ethical solidarity of care.

This international seminar prompts passage from violence and fear to the community of affection (“to be affected by” and “to affect”), drawing on social activism, artistic creation and critical thought to range across sensibility, language, bodies, imagination and politics.

Education programme developed with the sponsorship of the Santander Fundación


Monday, 20 September 2021
Opening of the Chair
How can subjectivity be liberated from colonial-racialising-capitalistic captivity? Opening lecture by Suely Rolnik (Brazil)

Opposite capitalism’s global seizure of power, in its monetised fold (at once economically neoliberal and culturally neoconservative), movements have been bursting forth, particularly in Latin America, materialising among racialised populations (black, indigenous, women’s, LGBTQI+, casual worker populations, etc.) and in entire cities. These movements extend beyond the history of left-wing resistance, restricting the macropolitical sphere and its target of unequal rights and intervening in the micropolitical sphere, the sphere of the unconscious regime that structures subjectivities and their formation in the social field, which in turn is dependent upon the existential consistency of the dominant system and its production and reproduction. There is no possibility of real change without micropolitical resistance. Within this realm, the margins between activism and artistic and therapeutic practices become indiscernible.

Presentation and conversation: Nelly Richard (Chile/Spain)

Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Table 1. Reshaping Aspects of Sensitivity

The experience of the pandemic laid bare at once the insecurity and fragility of our existence and the need to turn to affection as the key to reciprocity in constructing non-violent subjectivities. “Sensitive” aspects (matter, body, experience) take on relevance when it comes to correcting mean-spirited neoliberal structuring and the value it places solely on utility and profitable data. In which ways can the aesthetic, the political and the ethical be reconjugated in new grammars of desire and imagination, as well as responsibility?

Participan: Gabriel Gatti (Uruguay/Spain), Marina Garcés (Spain) and Luis Ignacio García (Argentina)
Moderated by: Janaina Carrer (Brazil)

Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Table 2. Political Violence and Conflicts of Memory

The management of neoliberal consensus and the levelling of a present cultivated by technocratic rationality both repress exercises of critical memory. However, there are several traumatic entanglements that continue to be projected as ghosts of the present, from a yesterday marked by dictatorial fractures. How can there be a continued exploration of the conflictive magnitude of social historicity that ties together memory but without ceasing, at the same time, to fight against the threat of new violence — economic, social, ethnic, gender-sexual — intersecting today’s political cycles?

Participants: Ileana Diéguez (Cuba/Mexico), Juan Gutiérrez (Spain) and Teresa Villarós (Spain)
Moderated by: José Miguel Neira (Chile)

Thursday, 23 September 2021
Table 3. Trans/feminisms Today: Conquests and Challenges

Feminist power (theory and practice) has been key to deciphering the knots that tether, socio-structurally, capitalism and the patriarchy, vindicating gender as an analytical category. It has also unfurled its collective force, engendering changing forms of intervention: marches, protests, strikes, assemblies, social networks, performances, etc. What are the new challenges the feminist project faces today to expand upon and transversally consolidate its conquests?

Participants: Verónica Gago (Argentina), Clara Serra (Spain) and Elisa Fuenzalida (Peru)
Moderated by: Ybelice Briceño (Venezuela/Ecuador)

Friday, 24 September 2021
Conclusion of the Chair
Baroque Signs. Closing Lecture by Diamela Eltit (Chile)

This lecture examines the expressive turbulence of certain signs stemming from social settings. It centres on the excess (or excesses, in plural) of the representation of the void, and considers the grammar of bodies as mobile forms able to promote local narratives (with a particular focus on Chile). From edges where brightness and opaqueness co-exist, the talk delves into the present time of a world that has become one big hospital, and where the virtual and the material entwine.

Presentation and conversation: Ana Longoni (Argentina)