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14 October 2021  -  14 October 2021

Uprootedness & Hybridity: Exploring intergenerational trauma in Central and Latin America through art and anthropology


An online seminar presented by Monika Dorniak, commissioned by Counterpoints Arts for Platforma 6

1pm (UK) on Zoom

7am (Mexico City/CDT)  /  8am (New York/EDT)  / 2pm (Berlin/CET)

Reserve a free place via Eventbrite

The interdisciplinary seminar ‘Uprootedness & Hybridity’ depicts intergenerational trauma in Central and Latin America through art, poetry and medical anthropology. The short presentations encompass contributions from different backgrounds that aim to deliver a multilayered perspective on the complex subject.

Following on from our first seminar in this series (June 2021), we aim to explore parallels between Latin and Central America, and Eastern Europe, and reflect the global impact of intergenerational trauma on our generations. We aim to unravel the complexity of the subject collectively, and will provide space for the participants questions and comments in our group discussion. After each presentation there will be a time for a short Q&A.

As a brief introduction, interdisciplinary German-Polish artist and moderator Monika Dorniak will introduce Marianne Hirsch’s concept of ‘postmemory’. Inherited memory can both form our identity and hinder us from being in the present – what is the balance in working with our ambiguous roots as artists and researchers?

Next, Jessica P. Cerdeña, MD/PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at Yale University, explores how the legacies of colonisation, enslavement, migration-related trauma, and ongoing structural violence shape the lives and memories of Latinx people today. This discussion centres on the literature surrounding intergenerational trauma in Latinx communities, the narratives of Latin American migrant mothers living in southern Connecticut, and tactics of resistance and imperative resilience to cope with and heal from generational wounds.

Indigenous cyberfeminist, scholar and artist Dr. Tiara Roxanne will examine intergenerational trauma in regards to storytelling for Indigenous peoples. In her talk the Berlin-based artist will discuss her artistic concepts of body memory and decolonial gestures, and present a selection of examples from her multi-medial artistic practice.

Mexico-based Ukrainian art historian, artist, and curator Svitlana Biedarieva analyses intergenerational trauma as reflected in the work of contemporary artists in Ukraine and Mexico, and discusses parallels between Mexican and Ukrainian art based on the topics of conflict, displacement, and insecurity. The rationale for the comparison is the exploration of how discrepant geographies can be united by postcolonial experience of the countries in question, and how this experience fosters elaboration of a cultural product that reflects on the conflicts caused by global divisions of power as well as local social hierarchies.

Argentinian, Berlin-based multi-media artist Eliana Sola Bussas will finish the seminar by performing a selection of poems that were written by her grandmother Ofelia Castillo in Brazil. The poems were written during Castillo’s time in exile between 1979 to 1983, when the ‘Guerra sucia’ (English: Dirty War) shook the Argentinians.

About the panel

Svitlana Biedarieva is a Mexico-based Ukrainian art historian, artist, and curator with an interest in Eastern European and Latin American modern and contemporary art. Her books include At the Front Line. Ukrainian Art, 2013-2019 (Mexico City: Editorial 17, 2020, co-edited with Hanna Deikun) and Contemporary Ukrainian and Baltic Art: Political and Social Perspectives, 1991-2021 (Stuttgart, ibidem Press, 2021). She has a PhD in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Biedarieva’s papers have been published by, among other outlets, Space and Culture (SAGE), Art Margins Online (MIT Press), and Revue Critique d’Art (University of Rennes 2).

Eliana Sola Bussas was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1986, where she studied multimedia arts. Since 2012, she has been working in the fields of cultural production, media education and video production in Berlin.

Ofelia Castillo was born in Córdoba, Argentina, in 1932, where she studied English and literature. She lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1979 to 1983. Her poems have been collected and printed in three anthologies as well as published in journals and magazines in Argentina, Brazil and the USA. Throughout her life she has had a distinguished career as a translator from English and Portuguese.

Jessica P. Cerdeña, PhD is an MD/PhD candidate in Medical Anthropology at Yale University. She recently defended her PhD on migrant motherhood during the COVID-19 pandemic and aspires to a career as a family physician-anthropologist. Her research and activism confront racism in medicine, health equity, and structural violence in Latinx migrant communities. Jes’s work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner Gren Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Research Scholars program and published in venues including The Lancet, The Journal of General Internal Medicine, and The American Journal of Bioethics.

Monika Dorniak is a German-Polish artist with an interdisciplinary background in choreography, psychology and design, who often merges media – specifically performance, (textile) sculpture, workshop, video, photography. In her multimedia practice she is exploring the structures of the Self through a multifaceted analysis of body, mind and environment, by taking into consideration the regressive history of the domination of nature, and social power structures. Her auto-biographical research on intergenerational trauma, migration and belonging is carried forward within her ongoing collaborations with scientists and diverse communities. As an artist she has presented her works at international institutions, such as Tate Exchange in Tate Modern London (2017 & 2018), Foreign Affairs Festival at Berliner Festspiele (2014) and Arts Catalyst in London (2016), and as guest lecturer at Al-Quds Bard College in Palestine (2018), Chelsea College in London (2017) and Garage Museum in Moscow (2019). Dorniak holds a Master Degree in Art and Science (Department Fine Art) from the Central Saint Martins in London (2017).

Tiara Roxanne (PhD) is an Indigenous cyberfeminist, scholar and artist based in Berlin. Her research and artistic practice investigates the encounter between the Indigenous Body and AI by interrogating colonial structures embedded within machine learning systems.  Her work more specifically  explores the notion that decolonization is not possible and therefore we must  establish decolonial gestures, a concept she has been developing from the start of her dissertation,  “Recovering Indigeneity: Territorial Dehiscence and Digital Immanence,” which was completed in June of 2019 under the supervision of Catherine Malabou. In this way, decolonial gestures stand in as forces and modes of decolonial or anti-colonial embodied actions.  Moreover, as a performance artist and practitioner, she works between the digital and the material using textile. Currently her work is mediated through the color red. Tiara has presented her work at Images Festival (Toronto), Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center (NY), Trinity Square Video (Toronto), SOAS (London), SLU (Madrid), Transmediale (Berlin), Duke University (NC), re:publica (Berlin), Tech Open Air (Berlin), AMOQA (Athens), among others.