Almost the Same but Not Quite - the Prosthetic Condition in Latin American Artistic Practices
Duarte Riascos, Jeronimo
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AbstractMy dissertation studies works of art that simultaneously feature literary and visual components, and that were produced in Latin America after 1980. To approach them, I propose the notion of the prosthetic condition: a way of being in contemporaneity that is opposed to traditional ontology—a manner of existence proper to entities that are produced artificially and that generate effects beyond the boundaries of the art world. Like medical prosthesis, entities affected by the prosthetic condition replace something that is missing. They bring something new into existence while, at the same time, accounting for a lack—whether original or subsequent. They are a testament to the will to continue despite adversity and an invitation to admire the impact of creation, craft, and artifice. I develop the notion of the prosthetic in conversation with a number of critical and theoretical debates, both in the humanities and beyond: the visual turn in literary studies, the performativity of language, the expansion of artistic fields and media, the dematerialization of artistic practices, the conceptualization of the human and the post-human in contemporaneity, the role of spectatorship as a creative activity, and the role of artistic practices in building communities that account for the different ways in which proximity is experienced today.
This notion is particularly helpful when approaching contemporary artistic productions that are resistant to fixed categorizations, or cases when a work of art is several things at once – including, also, non-art. Prosthetic entities underscore art’s ability to create and modify the world, and affect what communities experience as real. They remind us that both fiction and reality are malleable, and that one is often employed as a tool to alter and invent the other. The prosthetic condition is a tool to interpret the creative power available to humans in contemporaneity, as it is experienced both inside and outside art.
The dissertation is divided into two parts and three chapters. Part A comprises the first chapter and is devoted to prosthetic objects, examined through the practices of Mario Bellatin and CADA. Part B explores the notion of prosthetic beings: in the second chapter I return to Bellatin’s work to discuss the existence of a prosthetic self, and in the third chapter I study the possible existence of prosthetic others, by looking into the work of Lucas Ospina and Simón Hosie.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:39947200
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