Perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences

Round Beings Blurring Entanglements

Virtual Art Presentation by Malin Evertsz Mendez

Chair: Sigrid Thomsen (University of Vienna)

The exhibition Round Beings Blurring Entanglements links postcolonial feminism to a “regimes of mobility” approach. Intermittent mobility encompasses spatial-temporal reimaginations of belonging where existing binaries are untethered. The exhibition works through Gloria Anzaldúa’s postcolonial theory of the borderland. Anzaldúa offers a revolutionary imaginary of mobility in the form of mestiza consciousness. This new orientation resists stasis and seeks a differential response to one’s assigned inhabitance in the borderland. Using this social theory, the exhibition attempts to affirm contradictions and differences of migrants’ belonging.

Segment one illustrates the approach of poststructuralist and postcolonial views of migrant ontology, e.g., Deleuze and Guattari, Nietzsche, Braidotti, Anzaldúa and mobility scholars. I will conceptualize their interpretations of freedom, transformation, limitation, or captivity in and around migrants’ subjectivity. Some points of contention are: In what tense do migrants perceive their entanglements? Are they beings of destination in the search for stability? What of bursts of immobility: do they reflect inescapable embeddedness, do migrants mark places through visibility, invisibility, assimilation, flight, plurality, etc.?

Segment two looks at street vendors (living in clandestinity) and Malin’s autobiographical accounts of being first-generation Dominican-American (living as a diasporic subject). It will consider class exploitation and surveillance regimes as they orbit identity, social relations, and contemplation of belonging. In drawing out assumptions, dynamisms, and figurations of entanglements, the series disrupts the tension between sedentary/nomadic place-making and ontologies. It aims to open up the intermittency of the ambivalence produced by entanglement.

This exhibition highlights how in facing entanglements, migrants deal with their precarious borderlands, whilst blurring them as in-between subjects. This first stage begets the looming stage wherein spaces and time itself are redrawn.

Malin Evertsz Mendez is an interdisciplinary scholar and a visual artist. She identifies as a Dominican-American woman (she/her). Upon studying at the University of Vienna (spring 2017) and stepping out of NYC and CT, she became more passionate about migration studies and philosophy. Since taking the course “Contemporary Art and the Global” at SOAS, she has made a pact to utilize her creativity in academic spaces. While living in Vienna and London, she found comfort in grappling with ideas of entanglements during spontaneous encounters with peers from all walks of life. She carries these memories in her art and writing.