What Bodies Can Do: Art and the Social Practice of Resistance

Informed by the artistic practice of Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980) in relation to the socio-political conditions and carnival culture in Brazil in the 1960s, What Bodies Can Do: Art and the Social Practice of Resistance seeks to alter our understanding of the art object by re-evaluating the kinship between participatory art, embodied performativity, and social practices of resistance. Premised on the conviction that Hélio Oiticica’s paradigm-shifting Parangolés specifically, and participatory art more broadly, are fundamentally what Judith Butler calls “embodied forms of action and mobility marked by dependency and resistance,” this project will bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to create, perform, and ultimately engage in a timely debate about the political, social, and cultural potentials arising from the embodied performativity of art.

In other words, this event will set the stage for demonstrating the potential of art as what Brazilian critic Mário Pedrosa called “an experimental exercise of freedom.” By exercising art making and display as embodied social action, What Bodies Can Do: Art and the Social Practice of Resistance aims to provide a platform for new scholarship and a vital site for public discussion and activism.

What Bodies Can Do: Art & the Social Practice of Resistance is organized by the Visual Cultures Collective in collaboration with the Center for Visual Cultures, Teatro Décimo Piso, and the Chazen Museum, with active involvement from the Departments of Art History, English, Spanish and Portuguese, Art, the UW Center for the Humanities, and the International Student Services.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial