34 Exercises of Freedom: #27 Decolonizing Memory: Vita Futurities in the Americas
by Macarena Gómez-Barris

Macarena Gómez-Barris, οpening of the Public Programs of documenta 14 at Parko Eleftherias, photo: Stathis Mamalakis

In this talk, Gómez-Barris asks how we might decolonize memory to activate different potential alternative and anti-capitalist futures. Specifically, the talk addresses how the evacuation of colonial and dissident memories in the Americas has reproduced settler-colonial and genocidal logics that are imbricated with and steeped in authoritarian state histories. Gómez-Barris explores spaces “en el Sur,” or Southern spaces, such as former concentration camp Villa Grimaldi in Chile, the southern territories of Wallmapu, and post-colonial formations in Bolivia to address living futurities through submerged perspectives, or rather those modes and potentials that perceive beyond coloniality and patriarchal state narratives in order to pursue other forms of seeing and being. The analysis centers on indigenous and feminist forms of visuality and communal living that interrupt normative processes of capitalist accumulation and western aesthetics. Gómez-Barris discusses indigenous experimental film, anarcho-feminisms, inverted visuality, and other forms of anti-capitalist, anti-extractivist representation in the Americas to show how these submerged perspectives decolonize the inevitability of capitalist decimation and the anthropocene, while foregrounding different, regional, queer, and feminist planetary futures.

Macarena Gómez-Barris is chair of the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, New York. Her research is on cultural memory, anti-authoritarian aesthetics, decolonial thought, social ecologies, and radical alternatives and futurity. She is the author of The Extractive Zone: Submerged Perspectives and Decoloniality (forthcoming, 2016), Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), and co-editor, with Herman Gray, of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010). Macarena teaches on social and cultural dissident movements, comparative indigeneity, decolonial theory, visualities and Latin American cultural thought. She is also co-editor of Las Américas Quarterly, a special issue of American Quarterly (November 2014) and Decolonial Gestures, E-mísférica (May 2014).

Posted in Public Programs