Hearts and flowers. Minor and coded

First block of the Gear With Petals study program in which we will analyze minor forms of expression whose languages and aesthetic permutations slip into oppressive grammars. We will start from the minor not only understood as those practices that emerge outside the dominant modes of production and distribution, but also as forms that strive to rework fixed chains of meanings within cultural logics.

We will try to delimit a repertoire in which symbols taken to the paroxysm of their meaning -flowers, hearts-, metaphor, allegory, alliteration, semantic saturation, poetic rhythms, punctuation, diagrams and codified languages proliferate. The fat aesthetic alluded to by Elizabeth Freeman (Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories) serves not only as a formal catalog but also as an illustration and schema to think about the widening movements produced by these kinds of forms: when the structures of signification fall short, it is time to expand and fatten them. On the other hand, Freeman’s thin aesthetics, alluding to a reduction of the dominant language to its minimum, serves us to think the opposite movement: a series of exercises of diminution and schematization that rob language of its referentiality and the stability of its meanings while emptying and thinning the dominant forms until they are capable of containing a great deal of pressure and generating novelty.

The final objective of this first block is to try to present an aesthetic-political framework for this and the other sessions of the program, through the analysis of concrete examples that come from both literary and artistic practices -we will work on materials by Nayland Blake, Jay Bernard, Saidiya Hartman, Craig Owens or M. NourbeSe Philip, among others. Chela Sandoval (Methodology of the Oppressed) thinks of minor forms of opposition to dominant structures as car clutches: “the mechanism that allows the driver to select, copy and disconnect gears and cogs in a system for the transmission of power”. The title of this program also speaks of gears and fills them with flowers: a functional ornament. Gear With Petals is a verse by the poet Lyn Hejinian, who because of her closeness to Language poetry, allows us to focus on the relationship between a certain formal use of language and signs, poetry and its queer potential. We will use the poetic as something similar to a camp technique to “misread” or “misinterpret”. As Craig Owens explains, allegory “does not invent images but confiscates them. It claims the culturally significant, it poses as its interpreter. And in its hands the image becomes something else.” In this block we will think of queer politics that arise from a specific expressive need and occur in that which is minor and does not follow the usual representational paths but seeks intensity in its margins.

This block is composed of two activities:

Date: February 17th
Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Video of the talk

Reading group
Participation under previous selection
Date: February 24th
Time: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Capacity limited to 12 participants
To register it is necessary to fill in this form.

*Days before the session we will contact the selected persons and provide them with the texts.

Gear With Petals is conducted by Beatriz Ortega Botas, Blanca Ulloa, Alberto Vallejo and Leticia Ybarra.

Blanca Ulloa is a doctoral candidate in Performance Studies at New York University.
Beatriz Ortega Botas is curator of Yaby and editor of _AH magazine.
Alberto Vallejo is curator of Yaby and editor of _AH magazine.
Leticia Ybarra is a poet and co-founder of the Juf project. She has worked at La Casa Encendida as head of the Literature and Thought department, as curator of the Gelatina festival or cycles such as Atravesar el bosque encantado.

For more information:
Carolina Jiménez

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