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Flipping the Coin(ed) with María Inés Plaza Lazo, Founder of Arts of the Working Class, María Berrios, Director of Curatorial Programmes and Research at MACBA, and artist Michael Hart.

  • Exhibition
  • Jul 24 2024 - Jul 24 2024

As a medium and platform, Arts of the Working Class creates special and sustainable connections between artists, workers, academics, urbanists, cultural and social institutions from different countries and languages and the most vulnerable members of society; those deeply affected by extreme poverty and disabled of participating of the kind of agency given to groups and individuals in the safe space of the academic field. This pursuit not only creates new ways of communicating and behaving around and through art, but also of direct redistribution and more sustainable dissemination of cultural capital: being space –material, immaterial– for participation in content production, discussion and dissemination. 

18th Biennial Conference of EASA2024:
Doing and Undoing with Anthropology
23-26 July 2024.

The contemporary moment has accelerated the pace at which societies and ecologies are undone. We are surrounded by multiple emergencies and apparent threats: pandemics, war, climate change, mass population movements, radicalization of racial, cultural, and religious conflicts, infrastructural collapse, energy and supply shortages, financial crashes....

Adapting to these new conditions, people are forced to undo forms of being, and to rethink how other ways of living can be ‘done’ together. Undoing fossil fuel economies demands different methods of doing, from new kinds of protest to the invention of new technologies and the restructuring of extractive industries. War and violent conflict forces people to flee and thus to undo communities and modes of life; in displacement communities recompose social life in new ways. In short, questions of ‘doing’ and ‘undoing’ emerge in all dimensions of social life, from politics to legal orders, from morality to labour regimes, from religion to forms of kinship and gender, from technology to art to the production of truths in all realms.

Science is called upon to respond to these emergencies and new ways of un/doing by shaping a future framed as either apocalypse or redemption. But at the same time, the foundations and legitimacy of scientific knowledge are questioned from radically different perspectives. Scientific research appears either as responsible for the troubled world that surrounds us or as saviour, and sometimes both.

Anthropology, as an academic discipline and a form of knowledge is a case in point. It has been questioned from sometimes opposite directions: it has faced growing decolonial critiques as well as calls to restore the values of so –called “Western civilization”. These criticisms cut to the core of how, and what we do as Anthropology: how it produces and reproduces itself, at several levels. First, they highlight the limits of the discipline, and provoke adversary reactions to interdisciplinarity, or on the opposite, encourage anti-disciplinary and anti-academic approaches. Second, there is an increasing awareness of the uneven relations between centres and peripheries, the hegemony of English-speaking countries, at a time when international funding agencies increasingly require research produced in English. Third, they impinge upon the growing precarisation and casualisation of labour, that results not only in the general deterioration of working conditions, but also of the production of knowledge. All these problems may be common to many disciplines but seem to be affecting Anthropology with a particular intensity. Claims to “let anthropology burn” have been made, proposing to “undo” anthropology as we know it. In these terms, “undoing” anthropology may not mean simply to destroy or abandon the discipline, but to disassemble and reassemble it differently. What would “undoing” anthropology imply? How can we reimagine and reconfigure what it means to do anthropology today? How can we find new ways of doing and undoing in the broadest possible sense?


The Workshop with AWC  

Maximum capacity: 60 people

Participants are invited to consider the terminologies and methodologies of their academic research to the end of entering into dialogue with research practice beyond the academy. What would that look like? How might we flip the coin to consider an anthropological and curatorial revision of art into meanings and systems from the streets? Led by AWC, María Berrios, and Michael Hart, the workshop proposes ways to do and undo research in a manner which constructs dialogue with people informally working on the streets. 

As a sociologist, editor and curator, María Berríos focuses on contemporary art and culture in Latin America, with a special interest in collective cultural experiments and movements during the 1960s and 1970s. She is cofounder of the editorial collective vaticanochico and has been invited as a guest lecturer to many academic, cultural and independently managed institutions in Europe and Latin America. Her most notable curatorships include Desvíos de la deriva at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2010) with Lisette Lagnado, El cuerpo del arquitecto no es el de un solo hombre at MAVI (2017) with Amalia Cross, the 11th Berlin Biennale (2020-21) alongside Renata Cervetto, Agustín Pérez Rubio and Lisette Lagnado, and En la selva hay mucho por hacer, Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (2022-2023). Berríos currently serves as director of Curatorial Programmes and Research at MACBA. 

Michael Hart is an American photographer and producer living in Barcelona, Spain. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1981 and grew up in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. Hart’s photography has been published in Artforum, The Boston Globe, Contact Quarterly, El Pais, The Guardian, Haaretz, The Juilliard Journal, Les Inrockuptibles, The Movement Research Performance Journal, The New York Times Style Magazine, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, Time Out NYC, The Village Voice, Volt Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Since 2008 he’s been touring internationally, working as the assistant to American Choreographer Trajal Harrell, producing performances and performance exhibitions at The Barbican Centre, CCS Bard Galleries, Centre National De La Danse, The Hammer Museum, MoMA, MoMA PS1, Montpellier Danse, MUDAM Luxembourg, Museu de Arte do Rio, New York Live Arts, Palais De Tokyo, Sala Hiroshima and The Walker Arts Center. In Barcelona he produces performances and events at Espai Erre, Espacio Práctico, Sala Hiroshima, Monkey Town: Barcelona, La Poderosa.

María Inés Plaza Lazo is the founder, editor and publisher of Arts of the Working Class (AWC). She develops curatorial and communication strategies for others, individuals and institutions. She grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and lives and works between the streets of Berlin and the world. Together with Paul Sochacki, she founded AWC, a street journal on poverty and wealth, art and society, which they edit and publish with a Dalia Maini and Amelie Jakubek and a larger network of allies and collaborators. AWC contains contributions by artists and thinkers from different fields and in different languages. Its terms are based upon the working class, meaning everyone, and it reports on everything that belongs to everyone. Anyone who sells this street journal earns money directly. Vendors keep 100% of the sales. 



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