Mirroring Latin America: The Role of Performance Post-Crisis

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I do not pretend to give a comprehensive review on the vast work on Performance or Latin America. Instead, this paper seeks to address theoretically the intersection of performance and crisis within Latin America. I seek to pose the possibility—instead of arguing a fact—that the nature of crisis, as seen in Latin America, has been so extensive as to demand artistic interventions. There is an inextricable relationship between repression and performance during times of crisis. For the purpose of this paper, I will define crisis as any and all acts, which utilize repression as a means of maintaining hegemonic power. From the pre-Columbian era through the present, on the local, national and international stages, violence has protagonized the Latin America story. Throughout different phases of history, it has intensified and congealed into crisis. A vivid example of this is evidenced best during Argentina, Uruguay and Chile’s dirty wars. Therefore, I will use as a point of departure these specific and relatively recent case studies to show the following: performance (the arts as intervention) is a vehicle of transcendence, which confront sociopolitical realities in a way that obfuscates the message from the oppressor. Also, performance can reflect embodied acts, which transmit cultural knowledge and social memory and thus are vital in order to reimagine, remember and reposition the nation post crisis. If we use performance as a vector to interpret and construe meaning, as a result of crisis, we can fully grasp the essential role performance (art) plays within Latin America. Furthermore, I will explore the role affect has within these transformative processes, as they relate to performance, representation and the nation. This paper hopes to explicate the special role the arts/performance have within Latin American society and its inevitable impact on the current state of global affairs.

Keywords: Latin America, Performance, Affect, Nation, Violence, Transformation, Political Intervention, Artistic Intervention, Anthropology
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , Mirroring Latin America

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo

Graduate Student, Graduate Assistant, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, New York University

New York City, NY, USA

I am an experimental cartographer. My work focuses on using multi-media tools in order to map personal stories, as they relate to issues of migrations, religiosity and identity. I have worked as an educator and community activist, employing theories of development and running performance workshops. As an adjunct professor, I created programs which helped students apply artistic tools and theories to everyday practices. I am a firm believer that the arts should be the only weapon on choice to fight oppression, poverty and inequality. I focus on Latin American/Latino issues as they play out within the age of globalization. I hold a Masters degree in International Affairs from New School University. I am currently finishing a second Masters in Latin American Studies, and will be pursuing a doctorate immediately thereafter. I have presented my work at John Hopkins University, Columbia University and will be part of an art show this July at University of Chicago. Also, I will be debuting a film in Buenos Aires in June 2007.

Ref: A07P0080