Conveners: Ángeles Donoso Macaya, José Pablo Concha, and Silvia Spitta


Throughout history, artistic practices have interrupted, occupied, appropriated, and re-signified public spaces. This is one of the most visible ways in which art and politics meet each other. It is no surprise, for instance, that these interruptions are one of the most recurrent practices of the historical avant-gardes and of the neo-avant-gardes throughout the Americas; of their conflation of art and politics, and of art and life.

Public occupations, rallies, street actions, flash mobs, and performances have been documented through different media (video, film, photography) and usually become accessible to us via different platforms (the archive, the gallery, the museum, the internet). 

The exploration of the relation between an actual performance, a happening, or a “naked” event, its register, and our way of accessing it, offers a myriad of theoretical or creative possibilities. We are a group of scholars interested in theoretical approaches and creative work addressing the relations between act(ing), inscription, and representation—for instance, photographic/filmic/digital documentations of performances, public manifestations, or communal events, their dissemination through re-interpretation or re-enactment, and the transformations and re-appropriations of their meaning.

This work group invites academics, visual artists, filmmakers, performers, and photographers, to think about the dialectics of documentation and representation of historical events, artistic and political actions, communal festivities/celebrations, and performances, vis-à-vis the blurring between public and private spaces and the advent of the digital divide. This session is designed for individuals who are in the process of writing on these topics or who reflect about/address them in their creative work.

Related topics:
Visual documentation of performance art (via video, film, photography)
Neo-avant-garde’s street actions and manifests
Art + life
The document as art
The archive as creative material
The intimate space as creative material
Visual documentation of traditional festivities, public manifestations
The body of the photographer
The artist as activist
Fiction versus documentary / the documentary as fiction
Movement and inscription
Monuments, memory, and visuality
Historiography and photography
Visual representation/documentation of the ‘other’/the ‘self’
Happenings, actions: from the street to the gallery to the Museum
Flash mobs in the Youtube era
Occupation and its audio/visual avatars
The de-materialization of the referent


Each day the working group will focus on a different aspect of the relations between act(ing), inscription, and representation. Each session will be based on three to four presentations including academic papers and creative work, provided by a selected group of participants who will moderate the discussion.


Prospective participants are invited to upload a short bio (300 words) and a brief paper abstract (300-400 words) and/or slides of visual work and a mission statement (in the case of visual artists and photographers). Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

Up to 20 participants will be selected.

Convener Biographies:

Ángeles Donoso Macaya is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the City University of New York, Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her scholarly interests pay special attention to the meanings and methods of collaborative practices between artistic media—literature, photography, performance, and site-specific interventions. Her research areas include 20th - 21st century Southern Cone and Mexican literature, film, and documentary photography; the Latin American avant-gardes and neo-avant-gardes; history and theory of photography; visual studies; Latino/a Studies. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

José Pablo Concha is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Aesthetics at the Instituto de Éstetica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and a professional photographer. His research areas include aesthetics of photography, continental philosophy and image theory. He is the author of La desmaterialización fotográfica (Santiago: Ediciones UC/Metales Pesados, 2011) y Más allá del referente, fotografía. Del index a la palabra (Santiago: Aisthesis, 2005). (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Silvia Spitta is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. Her research interests include contemporary Latin American and US Latino/a literature and culture; theories of transculturation and mestizaje; material culture, collecting, and memory; visual culture and Andean photography. She is the author of Misplaced Objects: Migrating Collections and Recollections in Europe and the Americas (Houston: University of Texas Press, 2009) and of Between Two Waters: Narratives of Transculturation in Latin America (Houston: Rice University Press, 1995; Paperback edition: College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2006). (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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