The convention of restorative anatomy and prosopopeia
In recent years, globally-expanded populist politics are diffusing discourses and positions, which foster gender inequality, favour forms of racism, endorsing heteronormative visions, and increase new techniques of bio-political control. Conducting xenophobic public campaigns, current populist politics are primarily concerned with the construction and cultivation of “otherness”, and claim to defend western identity and liberties. Two processes do illustrate such dynamics nowadays: on the one hand, non-heteronormative behaviours are stigmatized as deviant or inappropriate and, therefore, dangerous; on the other hand, in the frame of current migratory crisis, bodies are objectified, measured and checked, they are turned into evidence to understand, through an “objective” data analysis, whether a human being has the right to require asylum or not. This year The Institute of Things to Come questions, how can we redefine the categories of alterity in opposition to politics of sovereignty, belongings, and heteronormative approach?
Attempting to envision body forms that escape mechanisms of objectification, include gender politics and favour processes of dis-othering, TIOTTC 2020 will reason about the regimes of visibility and representation. In 2020, TIOTTC will be transformed into a laboratory for experimental anatomy, where modes of bodily regeneration, metabolic transformation, personification, and physical/mental prosopopeia occurs.
The invited artists engage with forms of embodiment that plays between authenticity and imagination, and discuss political issues that escape processes of domination and subjugation: they invent new characters, perform alter-egos, and explore self-representation engaging with bio-political fiction, gender materiality and counter forms of biographism.
Changing personalities and constantly playing with different semblances the artists experiment in forms of autofiction – i.e. forms of fictionalized autobiography - to deconstruct languages and ideologies that propose definitive distinctions between “us” and “them”. And in so doing, on the one hand, the “I” converts into the scene where processes of self-fabrication are exhibited; on the other hand, the personal sphere becomes a prism reflecting larger structural concerns.
Such mega-structures of power and hierarchy as homophobia, sexism, racial discrimination, supremacy, and commodification of body, are tackled. Most importantly, proposing performative actions as a means of resistance to dominant and linear narratives, the artists deconstruct binary visions by using their own bodies: they activate procedures of self-examination of history to look at political significance through the lens of somatic approaches and physical mutuality with the past.
The 2020 program combines exhibitions, public programs and an associates programme supporting new productions for emerging practitioners. It starts with The First Conference On Transcorporality & Prosopopeia—a two days program addressing the use of the rhetorical figure of prosopopeia (i.e. a way of speaking as another person or object) in order to foster processes of dis-identity—with Quinsy Gario, Francesco Ventrella and Arnisa Zeqo. Along the year our Associates Programme titled Biographic Disobedience with artists Goda Palekaitė, El Palomar and Mohamed Abdelkarim, focuses on the life of marginalized historical figures, whose existences resisted and questioned cultural clichés and political impositions. Due to covid restrictions each artist will present her work in her own contexts. We start in March with artist Mohamed Abdelkarim who, reasoning upon his new publication "Let the Sea Eat Me: To Perform a Ferry" will present a one-month program of performances in Cario, to embody the state of migrating through languages, bodies, and writing genre.
At the end of the year-long program each artist will present a newly produced performances and publications related to the yearly theme. In April, artist Melanie Bonajo will present Night Soil – Fake Paradise an installation examining the use of Ayahuasca and “alternate states of consciousness” as moments in which we redefine socially accepted categories of body-politics and gender normativity. In June, artist Pauline Curnier Jardin will exhibit The Resurrection Puddle, an installation, performance and film that pays homage to Michel Foucault and Gunther von Hagens by celebrating metamorphosis, regeneration and hermaphroditism.
Finally, Guerrilla against the Unceasing Hostilities of the Living, curated by Michele Bertolino, collects a series of interviews to reconsider the role of zombies as symbolic equivalents of otherness in post-human and post-capitalist critique, anti-social queer theories and post-porn productions—with Sarah Juliet Lauro, Lee Edelman, Lorenzo Bernini and Shaka McGlotten.
In times of new forms of identitarianism, The Convention of Restorative Anatomy and Prosopopeia brings together artists and practitioners to re-evoke the presence of absent historical bodies and build a genealogy of corporeal subjectivities that readdress the notion of “normality” and “alterity.”