Academic journal article Chasqui

Queer Interventions in Post-2001 Argentina: The Unmanageable Case of Fernanda Laguna

Academic journal article Chasqui

Queer Interventions in Post-2001 Argentina: The Unmanageable Case of Fernanda Laguna

Article excerpt

What is truly potential is thus what has exhausted all its impotentiality in bringing it wholly into the act as such. (Giorgio Agamben. Potentialities 4)

How can one speak of contemporary practices in a globalized world moving beyond traditional paradigms in art? This essay will try to offer a reading, a queer reading, of practices, which exceed "our" ability to contain them. Emerging from a larger project, this essay maps the current crisis of art, thought and reading. In Estetica de la emergencia (2006) and Estetica de laboratorio (2010) Reinaldo Laddaga, noting similar impasse, suggests that the art world is experiencing profound transformations. Since the early 2000s, artistic practices have become less concerned with crafting closed and finished works (within the autonomous tradition of modernity) and instead have gravitated towards creating cultural ecologies (ecologias culturales), spaces of politico-aesthetic experimentation that stage open-ended channels of communication. These practices exist within performances, literary texts, exhibitions and intellectual communities. For Ladagga, this experimentation's importance lies within the artist's desire to expose herself:

   Un artista se expone pero no pretende que lo que exhibe sea su
   definitiva desnudez. Sabe que todos sospechamos que eso no es
   posible. Tampoco se expone en el curso de realizar una operacion de
   si mismo. Lo que nos muestra no es tanto "la vida como es", sino
   una fase da la vida que se despliega en condiciones controladas.

Confessions, gestures, and revelations are performances that mark the works of many contemporary Latin American writers including Mario Bellatin. Mario Levrero, Cesar Aira and Sergio Chejfec.

The focus of this essay is work of emerging artist/writer Fernanda Laguna. Her performances have exposed radically queer "phases of life" in post-2001 Argentina. This life lays bare how politics and aesthetics operate in early 21st century global Latin America. Given her experimentation with relationship between genre and gender, (1) Laguna has already been deemed Aira's successor. Along with Chejfec, she shares an interest in the materiality of artistic expression, and with Bellatin the performative nature of writing. (2) With Levrero, she shares the exposure of the limits of art. (3) She continues some of Nestor Periongher's intellectual work, reconnecting the local artistic scene with Brazilian queer literature.

Her work fits very well within the queer paradigm. As David Williams Foster reminds us, queer is "todo aquello que instaura una postura desafiante a la heteronormatividad patriarcal" (Ensayos 197). Foster underlines that it refers to the homoerotic desire, or any practice that does not fit into the rules of Church. The queer, then, is a politics of deconstruction that proves useful in decentralizing heteronormativity in all its pluricontextual facets. In her 2008 article. "Hacia un verbo queer," Amy Kaminsky supplements this concept by insisting that queer is an active verb which constantly exposes and cancels out binary categories showing them to be both arbitrary and contingent. Finally, queer is that which cannot be properly grasped. Refusing reduction and stability, queer is an ambivalent and ambiguous attitude, performance and practice. Paradoxically, it gives name to that which cannot be named, that which refuses a fixed meaning.

Laguna's practices perform all of the abovementioned characteristics but also ab-use queer as a practice of politicization of cultural ecologies by incorporating a sustained critique of the global economic order and Cartesian rationality. Such performance is aporetic in its relation to the Market, and therefore can best be grasped as participatory resistance since it works within conventions and within institutions exposing internal limits to the common sense of both neoliberal and heteronormative ordering. Both Katherine Sugg and Kaminsky suggest that such works perform repetition of certain concepts (identity, community, gender/genre) while constantly disrupting them via critical collapse of binaries. …

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