Session B:

CANNIBAL AFFINITIES. Digestive imagination, predation of history and visceral transformations

Sunday. October 23

12 noon

October 24, 25

5:30 PM

Saturday, October 29

12 noon

ArtCenter/DOWNTOWN 1035 N. Miami Avenue, Suite 300

The cannibal navigates history through continuous and discontinuous lines of signification. Since its colonial inception in 1492, cannibalism has defined and articulated several entangled frontiers of western modernity (the thresholds of the law, of nature and humanity, of moral and abjection, of voracity and femininity), creating an unstable and speculative imaginary, subject and territory. As a matter of fact, being sacrificed, cut into pieces, butchered and devoured appeared as the most recurrent fear in Europe’s imagination of America, multiplying the meanings and images of the cannibal trope. The cannibal will therefore invoke renewed spectres of alterity, cultural anxieties, imperial interests and modern taxonomies, as well as naming the geographical area where the carib or caniba live (the Caribbean), and many other things. It will thus constitute an archive of metaphors and a dense archive-image itself, condensing and accumulating layers of murky and ambivalent meanings and images, that both defy and fixate coloniality’s rethoric (be that imperial or global) and the grounds of western ontology. Because if we understand cannibalism from its amerindian perspective, modern partitions between nature and culture, animate or inanimate, human and non-human, do not operate. Instead, it implies an understanding of the self as constant transformation through the  incorporation of the other, and society as a centrifugal force of exchange. In this new scheme, a topology of perspectives and positions removes any possibility of essentialism, affinity takes the place of substantial identity, violent politics of predation depose hollow humanism, distribution takes over production and exchange substitutes accumulation. And if the subject-object relation disappears in favor of an active subject to subject relation of transformation, how are we to understand artistic practice, artworks and cultural production?

This course approaches the cannibal as a devious figure to enter history and reflect on epistemology from its visceral back alleys. Embracing cannibalism as a device for the political imagination and for the re-interpretation of history, this course proposes to collectively read, annotate, comment, translate, digress, digest and interpret historical and contemporary texts and images on cannibalism. By so doing, canonical archives and narratives will be devoured, and a counter-topia from where to (un)think cannibalism as a spaces of dissidence, decoloniality, desire, community and ecology will be established.


Additional Course Materials

Julia Morandeira Arrizabalaga is an independent curator and researcher, based in Madrid. Her practice deals with issues of geography and coloniality, production and exhibition apparatuses in art and culture, and their inscription as sites of knowledge production. She is part of the artistic collective Magnetic Declination and of the research group Península. Recent projects include the exhibitions ATLAS OF the ruins OF EUROPE in CentroCentro Madrid and Canibalia at the Kadist Foundation in Paris, the publication Be careful with each other so we can be dangerous together, the launching of Cannibal House at the Cultural Centre of Spain in Costa Rica, and the forthcoming Informal School at the Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid. Morandeira holds a BA in Humanities from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University College of London.