CFP: Body Memory Trauma // Exhibition: Water, Art, Women, Life

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    María Gil Poisa
    Participant
    @mariapoisa

    TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

    5TH ANNUAL HISPANIC STUDIES GRADUATE CONFERENCE

    CONFERENCE TITLE:

    BODY, MEMORY, TRAUMA

    Friday March 6 – Saturday March 7, 2015

     

    CALL FOR PAPERS

    Sponsored by:

    Department of Hispanic Studies – Texas A&M University

    Religious Studies Program – Texas A&M University

    Indigenous studies Working Group – Texas A&M University

    Women’s and Gender Studies Program – Texas A&M University

    WMHS Program (WaterManagement and Hydrological Sciences) – Texas A&M University

    HLGSA (Hispanic/Latino Graduate Students Association) – Texas A&M University

     

    The history of international relationships has often been seen as being embroiled in a dynamic that brands and marginalizes bodies in a process of polarization between conversion and expulsion in which there is no alternative or means of othering that lies outside of this dichotomy. By way of a repetitive drive, the hegemonic power has always traumatically pushed away, whether symbolically or physically, those suspected of not following the imposed normativity towards the margins or the outside of a city, a culture, a society, or a language. In this regard, the trauma experienced by the ‘excluded body’ is even greater when the ‘outsider’ or the ‘marginalized’ is expelled or denied by the narrative of the ‘official memory’ and is forced to fight to rebuild her meaning and identity within horizons that are foreign to her. It is with this in mind that we invite submissions that think through this phenomenon in order to break through the dualism generated by these processes of expulsion and displacement, denial of memory and repression of the body.

    We welcome submissions from across the spectrum of academic fields including, among others, anthropology, cultural studies, economics, geography, history, journalism, linguistics, literature and poetry, philosophy, political theory, psychology, sociology, and visual arts.  Panels are encouraged.

    Topics may include but are not limited to:

    Afro-Latin American Studies

    Chican@/Latin@ studies

    Cinema/Theater/Dance

    Colonialism/Post-colonialism

    Diaspora

    Ecology

    Education

    Energy

    Feminism

    Gender/Queer Studies

    Geopolitics

    Globalization

    Human Rights

    Indigenism

    International Law

    Jurisprudence

    Linguistics

    Literature

    Migration

    Music

    Narco-trafficking/War on drugs

    Photography

    Plastic Arts

    Poetry

    Political Economy

    Race, Class, Ethnicity

    Rights

    Technology

    Translation

    Violence

    War

    Water Rights

     

    Keynote speakers:  Dr. Richard Kagan (Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History & Academy Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University); Giulio Nicola Soldani (co-founder of Comahue Permanent Assembly for Water and member of the Argentinian Parliament for Water)

    Artistic exhibition: The conference will host an Argentine-Italian artistic exhibition entitled “Water, Art, Women, Life”, curated by the Italian art curator Francesca Pietracci, and organized by Giulio Nicola Soldani, the co-founder of Comahue Permanent Assembly for Water and member of the Argentinian Parliament for Water. The project of the exhibition arises in the context of the struggles carried out by these non-institutional and non-hierarchical organizations in Argentina for the defense of water from its contamination and the risk of its depletion as a natural resource, where the role of women has become increasingly important. The exhibition wants to be an active and participatory contribution in solidarity with these struggles, encouraging a dialogue between both Argentine and indigenous women fighting for the protection of water and Italian artists, or those of other nationalities that choose Italy as a country to live and work. Moreover, the exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Cristina Linkopan, a woman, mother, activist against the contamination of water, and member of the Mapuche indigenous community, who died in 2013 at the age of 30 from pulmonary complications due to environmental pollution.

    SUBMISSIONS: Participants may submit either a panel proposal or an individual paper. All materials may be in either Spanish or English. Panel proposal (3-5 panelists): proposals should include a tentative title of the panel, the organizer’s name and institutional affiliation, an abstract of no more than 250 words, individual paper abstracts (see instructions for individual papers), and a CV for each panelist. Individual papers: abstracts should be no more than 250 words and should include a tentative paper title, the participant’s name, and university affiliation; please also attach a CV.

    Please send your proposals to María Gil Poisa at mariapoisa@tamu.edu or José Valero Martinez at  valero@tamu.edu by January 15, 2015. Potential conference participants will be notified of their acceptance by January 30, 2015. Audiovisual equipment will be available upon request. For more details about the conference, please visit the conference website at: https://sites.google.com/site/tamuhsagc/home

    Si contaminan el agua nadie va a ser libre

    [If they contaminate the water nobody will be free]

    Cristina Linkopan

     

    Yo no estoy en defensa del Agua,

    Yo soy parte del Agua protegiéndome a mí mismo,

     Soy la parte del Agua que recientemente emergió a la conciencia

    [I am not in defense of Water,

    I am part of the Water protecting myself,

     I am that part of the Water that has recently emerged into consciousness]

    Arne Næss

     

     

    1. The project

    The exhibition “Water, Art, Women, Life”, that will accompany the 5th Annual Hispanic Studies Graduate Student Conference at Texas A&M entitled “Body, Memory, Trauma”, arises in the context of the struggles carried out by the Argentinian Parliament for Water, the Comahue Permanent Assembly for Water (APCA), and the Union of City Assemblies (UAC) in the Southern-central Argentinian region of Comahue, an area that, coinciding with Northern Patagonia, includes the provinces of Neuquén and Río Negro. These three assemblies are non-institutional and non-hierarchical organizations that try to articulate the interventions of unions, associations, foundations, ONGs, individual citizens and indigenous groups in those territories plagued by socio-environmental issues.

    Moreover, the exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Cristina Linkopan, a woman, mother, activist against the contamination of water, and member of the Mapuche indigenous community, who died in 2013 at the age of 30 from pulmonary complications due to environmental pollution.

    The exhibition is curated by Francesca Pietracci, an Italian art curator that worked at numerous international exhibitions including at the Annina Nosei Art Gallery in New York and The Washington Museum, and it is organized by Giulio Nicola Soldani (Social Science Department of Universidad de Buenos Aires, Insituto de Investigacion Gino Germani Buenos Aires, and CONICET), the co-founder of Comahue Permanent Assembly for Water and member of the Argentinian Parliament for Water. The project is coordinated by Fernanda Verón, a professional artist, expert in anthropology of art, and graduate of the “Accademia delle Belle Arti” in Rome, whose last solo exhibition took place in the context of The Festival of Philosophy in the city of Modena, Italy, in September 2014. This exhibition, arising in the space of encounter between Argentina and Italy, is part of a bigger project called ARTIVANDO that aims to the promotion of art exhibitions that combine art, environment and social struggles. The referent at Texas A&M for the organization of the exhibition is Michela Russo (mrusso@tamu.edu), graduate student in the Department of Hispanic Studies.

     

     

    1. The context

    Water is one of the elements that allow life on this planet.

    The human body is 2/3 water.

    Its importance in many ancient cultures is directly related both to the life cycle and to the feminine principle that embraces and hosts the regeneration of life.

    In many regions like Latin America, whose ancient name given by the indigenous population before the arrival of Columbus was Abya Yala, that is, “land of vital blood”, the precious gift of nature is today endangered by numerous projects connected with extractivism. These projects involve mega open-pit mining, practices of clearing and excavation of land, the construction of mega dams and nuclear power plants, the exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the existence of millions of acres of transgenic monocultures, the diffusion of logging industries, the reforestation plans that include the import of exotic species, and the monopolization of land and water.

    The health of a continent, which should be both the green lungs and the kidneys of the world, is systematically endangered.

    The destruction of ecosystems carries for indigenous peoples, who perceive themselves and actually live as a constitutive part of the land itself, the threat of disappearing.

    This situation, besides having as an effect the irreversible dismissal of ancient cultures and natural heritages, turns out to be an affront to our current life on our planet, which importantly provides us with the energy needed for daily living, and will eventually cause its extinction.

    The role of women, both indigenous and non-indigenous, becomes increasingly important particularly in the context of the conflicts for the defense of water from its contamination and the risk of its depletion as a natural resource.

    An existential empathy existing between the feminine principle and water is reflected in a process of consciousness raising with respect to water problems. Speaking more deeply, it can be said that the struggle in defense of water is a fight against the extinction of the life cycle.

    This is why with our project we want to express our solidarity and our position on this issue, and all that happens daily in all these territories so far away but yet so close. We do so also thinking about the plebiscites that won in Italy in June 2011 by going against the privatization of water in order to finally declare it as a “common good.” Finally, this project aims to establish and make visible the existing links between women, water, art, and life.

     

    1. The exhibition

    Contemporary art, as it is understood in the Western tradition, generally deals with different degrees of emergenc(i)es, understanding this term in the interplay between its two meanings as something that ‘emerges’ and ‘urgency’, and the role that many artists play is the one of mentally and physically experimenting true exercises of survival outside any sort of constrictions imposed by our society.

    In this sense, the most outstanding artistic projects are often presented as great human, social and environmental platforms where the multiplicity of elements involved can be transformed into chaos within the process of artistic production. However, the apparent chaotic confusion in the scope of their contents, messages, or stylistic processes represents the true wealth of these artistic activities.

    Indeed, the society receiving these works has to go beyond the appearances and understand the deeper meaning of the whole, represented by a chorus of internal voices and physical resonances of the will to overcome discomfort.

    This is why it is of great interest to encourage a dialogue between both Argentine and indigenous women fighting for the protection of water and Italian artists, or of other nationalities that choose Italy as a country to live and work. Every day, Argentine and indigenous women face the multiplication of irreversible dynamics of poisoning and drastic impoverishing of springs. At the same time, the artists that will take part in the exhibition are engaged in the search and synthesis of ways of thinking and expressing the need for the salvation of all kinds of life forms on our planet.

    In this context, the realization of a work of art is able to convey a sort of empathy for the protection of biodiversity. Therefore, ethics and aesthetics meet each other by engendering the power of direct action, at once both collective and individual.

     

    1. The works

    Two installations of 20 pieces of 40 x 40 cm artistic works on cuts of cloth sheets made by Italian artists or artists residing in Italy will be interspersed with 20 stories printed on the same material and written by women involved in the struggle in defense of water in Argentina. The choice of using the cloth sheets as a supportive material for the works of arts we are exhibiting has to be understood in the light of symbolisms and imaginaries that invoke, among others, bodily contacts, everyday life moments, bonds with water and night.

    One of the two installations will remain in Europe to be divided amongst various exhibitive locations such as museums, social spaces, institutional sites and those pertaining to social and environmental movements.

    The other installation will travel to Argentina and will be made available for exhibitions in those places affected by all the water issues we are dealing with in our project, particularly in the native places of the women participating in the project with their writings. In this respect we aim to reach different loci of enunciation in order to achieve the broadest possible audience.

    Our work, at once collective and individual, makes use of different media, styles and languages and wants to be an active and participatory contribution in solidarity with the difficulties and pressures under which populations are fighting in defense of water. At the same time, this work aims to express itself, through its aesthetic-political forcefulness, as a universal message of protection of water as a source of life. Finally, this is an exhibition that aims to reach the most differentiated public, and in particular those that live the daily drama of water contamination and shortages.

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