Dalida María Benfield
Dalida María Benfield, Ph.D. is an artist and researcher who engages global contemporary art, media politics, decolonial thought and transnational feminisms.
She is the Research and Program Director of the Center for Arts, Design and Social Research, a new, global platform for research, action, exhibitions and publications. She is also the Faculty and formerly Co-Chair of the Visual Arts Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, U.S.A.
She has been a Visiting Scholar at the Social Media Collective, Microsoft Research New England; a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University; and Professor and Chair of Art Education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dr. Benfield is also the co-founder of the Institute of (im)Possible Subjects, a transnational feminist collective focused on the politics of global migrations, and Collective Impossible, llc, an independent artists agency and publisher.
Stateless Mind #3
Title - hotel/panamá
Digital video and audio installation (2010 - 2014).
Dimensions variable (1 – 4 screens, projections or monitors, 1 - 10 headphones and/or amplifiers and speakers)
2 hour loop or 22 minute single screen.
Audio produced with Pierre Archambault.
Artist’s Statement: At the cut, from the wound
In hotel/panamá, the practice of a decolonial aesthetics is a process of unfolding time, space and story. The Panama Canal is the cinematic field for this engagement. “The Land Divided, the World United:” This is the phrase that adorns the seal of the Panama Canal. Whose land? Whose world? The narratives of the Canal are multivalent: It is a site of contestation, of coloniality and de-coloniality.
The land is continually divided, and the world united, across multiple bodies, territories, time-spaces.
My body is there, as is my mother’s. Our narratives collide and co-exist with other mothers and lost children. The hotel in the title refers to a single administration building, which became the School of the Americas, and is now a resort hotel. In this edifice we find apparitions and shadows. Fragments are gathered and reordered to build other knowledge, decolonial symbolics. There are many horizons and beings. We see and hear them together.
Stateless Mind #2
Title - The Supervision of Constructed Aesthetics of Interculturalism
The politics of representation and participation
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member,” Gandhi
In 2001, UNESCO adopted the agreement of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, recognizing the need to enhance the potential of culture as a means of achieving prosperity, sustainable development, and peaceful global coexistence.
In 2002, The United Nation General Assembly declared the 21st of May as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, following UNESCO’s declaration.
Every year on the 21st of May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity is celebrated at the UN and at UNESCO’s offices and lobbies. You might wonder why there should be anything wrong with celebrating differences? Yet some see this attempt as another kind of technical institutionalization of the far more complex issue of Cultural Diversity.
This brings us to the question of how the unequal power relation and the dominant narrative of Cultural Diversity is channeled into our contemporary time, and into the junction of yesterday’s historical archive and today’s physical geography?
It is true that they say art was once the illustration of literary narratives. Today, it is more a about the translation of experiences.
Concisely, the motive and motivation behind our seminar, is to reflect on the history and memory of metaphysically speaking of trendy slogans like post-colonial aesthetics, second cultural space, multiculturalism, migration and expatriatism.
The art and aesthetic of the experience of cultural difference, expatriatism, diversity, or interculturalism are both the product and the expression of a long and unresolved struggle for the control over the image, and for the power to define the self and identity. Because the past is still present, the trans-identity is clearly still rooted in the cultural crossroads of the extended Europe to the so-called Black Africa, the Middle East, and South East Asia.
All remain placed between a (forcibly) invisible colonial past and an ostensibly independent present.
In this context the dominant discourse, particularly in Europe, remains obsessed with cultural difference and identity. The obsession with cultural difference through the years has been institutionally legitimized through the construction of the “post-colonial other” that remains, till this very moment, allowed to express itself as long as it speaks of its own otherness.
Indian scholar Tabish Khair highlight this equation in his article Othered + Mothered = Smothered (quote): "Just as the non-Western artist and writer is more likely to enter Danish society as an immigrant spokesperson of a different culture rather than as an artist or writer living in Denmark, non-Western art is more likely to enter Danish scholarly discourses in anthropological terms rather than, say, aesthetic ones." (end of quote).
As a consequence, the society remains confused and unable to maintain its focus on the cultural product itself, rather than on the producer who’s hybrid cultural identity remains visible / invisible on demand - as a case under study at the lab of national experimentation.
According to Khair, it does not surprise him to come across, say, books on the Cobra artists that do not mention Ernest Mancoba, a South African-born artist who was an active member of the ‘Danish’ art group.
Khair adds, it is still common even today to find non-Western art exhibited in Danish museums on largely anthropological terms - something that would be a minor scandal in, say, England or Scotland.
Two groups of panelists will address a variety of translations of experiences and the real dissemination of contemporary intercultural practices.
Stateless Mind #1
DE/ARCHIVE: Animating, De/Counter-Archiving, and Mobilizing Knowledge and Memories
How can we think differently about, and re-route the pathways, homes, and communities of our
knowledge and memories? Our knowledge and memories may or may not be in the "official
archive." We can then imagine and create new spaces for the archiving of knowledge and
memory. But our knowledge and memories that are in the "official archive" can also be liberated;
we can be in conversation with them, listening to and reading between the lines of these archived
memories, often stolen; to give them new lives, times, and spaces. Through this, we can
understand how "official" archives can make absent whole categories of knowledge and memory.
We can also locate, curate, and materialize memories that lie beyond the purview of existing
archives, and imagine and create new homes, communities, and routes of travel for them. In this
talk, Dalida will discuss several archive projects that she is directing with the Center for Arts,
Design, and Social Research, including DE/ARCHIVE, ARCHIPELAGO: MAP(S) OF THE MOVING
WORLD, and the MIGRATORY TIMES AND SPACES projects.The land is continually divided, and the world united, across multiple bodies, territories, time-spaces.