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From Enjoying Being Together to Survival: A Glance at Art and Anthropology

Néstor García Canclini

18 Jun 2010 - 18:30

Auditorium 2

Some anthropologists such as Marc Abélès, state that we have changed our relationship with politics: we have stopped enjoying being together, sociability, and have moved on to a phase where survival is the primary concern. When society becomes sombre and increasingly precarious, we stop planning the future: we move from precaution to prevention. 

Contemporary art explores this horizon through criticism of the supremacy narratives of capitalism, globalisation and religion (Muntadas, Meireles, Ferrari) or by constructing narratives of impossible totalization (Dora García, Carlos Amorales). On this journey, even art questions itself, in terms of its place and future. In anthropological and sociological terms, that replace the question “what is art” with the “when it is art”, let’s suggest that what is inherent in art is to be in an imminent position: announcing what can happen, insinuating possible meanings. What social anthropology and what politics could result from an art where the facts are never completely produced and that doesn’t seek to be converted into a coded occupation nor profitable goods?

NÉSTOR GARCÍA CANCLINI is professor at the Universidade Autónoma Metropolitana do México and researcher emeritus at the Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (National System of Researchers). He was guest professor at the Universities of Austin, Duke, New York, Stanford, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and São Paulo. He received the Guggenheim Fellowship and various international prizes for his books, among which the Book Award from the Latin American Association, for “Culturas Híbridas”. Author of numerous works, translated into various languages such as English, French, Portuguese and Italian, including the particularly noteworthy “Latinoamericanos buscando lugar en este siglo”, “La globalización imaginada” and “Diferentes, desiguales y desconectados. Mapas de la interculturalidad”. Currently his research is focused on the relationship between aesthetics, anthropology and communication uses in young cultures.