Escaping Fear?
Seeking Community as Colonial Imperatives of Individual Freedom
Virtual Symposium on Artist Residencies

Escaping Fear Symposium Arquetopia Artist Residencies
Since the 2020 mandatory isolation ordinances, the world and the ways in which we experience it seem to have changed. Mobility and access suddenly appeared to be restricted, impacting the perception of freedom and exacerbating a sense of nostalgia. Confinement in our homes made people fear interactions while simultaneously longing for access to community. When most restrictions around the world were lifted, “community” resurged as one of the most precious commodities, and accessing it became an urge and a new popularized mode of exercising individual freedom.

Community has become a place constructed through the assumption of honorable intentions, ritualizing codes of empathy, rather than taking into account the legacy of colonization and imperialism. Such a concept assumes a unified constituency while concurrently asserts difference in who has access to it. It provides a “safe” and “generous” space where projection and desire are put into practice as dominant relationships are naturalized. Through such ideological assumptions, race, class and even gender issues are ignored, disguising power dynamics under a rhetoric of harmonious public space; thus, spectator and object of observation are tacitly implied, positioning bodies in place to produce a apparently generalized positive feeling that only reinforces ideas of foreign vs. domestic, private vs. public, and at the center of these intersubjective exchanges, exploitation is performed in every direction. Its objectivization provides the basis for the reorganization of historical relations of power, allowing the restaging of settler colonialism, gender imperialism, and an idealized vision of globalization that only masks the local exploitation of labor. At the core of such modes of interaction, artist residencies are located, contributing to the fantasy of “community,” and becoming a way and facilitator of extraction for the greater good of those who can temporarily enjoy it as some sort of playground and then leave the site.

“Escaping Fear? Seeking Community as Colonial Imperatives of Individual Freedom,” the second edition of the Arquetopia Biennial Virtual Symposium on Artist Residencies, will focus on the myth of community as a proxy for domination. This call for submissions seeks papers with critical perspectives on artist residencies, retreats, artist communes, and in general cultural mobility, including cultural exchanges; taking into account the history of colonialism and legacy of imperialism, to reconsider their role in the spatialization of power. The symposium invites discussions on the effects of art and mobility, and the various ways in which scholars, artists, activists, and community leaders face the challenge of extractive practices in the violent process of placemaking, and their negative impacts in the process of community building.

The virtual symposium will be organized in sessions of keynotes and round tables through a series of panels that will include the perspectives and experiences from artist residencies and cultural institutions, as well as the expertise of scholars from diverse backgrounds and different locations around the globe. Each participant will be carefully selected considering their perspective and themes addressed in relevance to the field, to ensure a multiplicity of perspectives and experiences. Arquetopia is organizing this event for free, providing the technology and logistical support, hosting each session as a video call with speaker or guest moderator that will facilitate the discussion of the specific topic to engage the participants. All sessions will be recorded and broadcasted to ensure accessibility for different audiences in multiple countries around the world.

Deadline: Friday, April 28, 2023, 12:00 AM CT
Please send a 250-word abstract with one-page CV to Arquetopia Foundation Co-Executive Director, Francisco Guevara (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), with copy to Nayeli Hernandez, Programs Director (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Abstracts should include the author’s name, institutional affiliation, and paper title in the heading. We welcome individual proposals and panel proposals.

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