CONCRETE MIRROR







Art and Research Residency based between the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) and the Cité Internationale des Arts

In 2017 the artist Noara Quintana and I were invited to take up an art and research residency at the EHESS in Paris. Under the auspices of the InventFormes programme created by Jean-Bernard Ouédraogo and Giulia Battaglia, we began work on an interdisciplinary enquiry in collaboration with diverse members of the Brazilian community of Paris. The objective: to work between anthropology and art on the emergence of a political imaginary at the frontier; to explore how subjective experiences of stigma, migration and becoming intersect and take form. Our project, entitled Concrete Mirror, started from an ethnographic foundation: through a series of workshops, we invited our Brazilian interlocutors to imagine their relationship with Brazil through a particular object, or objects, of their choice. These objects were the starting points for coffees, barbeques, political debates, lunches, concerts and walks regarding how it feels to be Brazilian in Paris, to exist between multiple conceptions of self, to be constructed and yet also embody the other, to reflect on a politics which is at once distant and yet also refracted, tangible and present.

From September to December 2017, we worked between the EHESS and the Cité Internationale des Arts to create two open studios, three public dialogues and an exhibition at the EHESS.

DIALOGUE I 
THE ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM AND INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE  Anne Christine Taylor and Maria Thereza Alves 
(EHESS)

DIALOGUE II
THE AESTHETICS OF KNOWLEDGE
Jacques Leenhardt, Ícaro Lira and Elena Lespes Muñoz
(Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature)

DIALOGUE III
DECOLONISE OUR REFLECTIONS: THE INSTITUTIONALISATION OF CURATORIAL, ARTISTIC, AND ANTHROPOLOGICAL PRACTICES
Alya Sebti and Jonas Tinius
(La Colonie)

The forms employed in Concrete Mirror – the exhibition, the workshops, the open studios and the dialogues – spoke to both social and aesthetic dimensions that seek to intervene in our world. In working with a method that Noara and I came to term ‘reference to gesture’ – of the anthropologist, the artist and the interlocutor – Concrete Mirror attempted to recognise and cite the power of the open-endedness of a research process that engaged productively with aesthetics and its potential to re-order. 








auflynn [at] ucla.edu



Alex Ungprateeb Flynn is an Assistant Professor at the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, University of California, Los Angeles. Working as an anthropologist and curator, Alex’s practice explores the intersection of ethnographic and curatorial modes of enquiry. Researching collaboratively with activists, curators and artists in Brazil since 2007, Alex explores the prefigurative potential of art in community contexts, prompting the theorisation of fields such as the production of knowledge, the pluriversal, and the social and aesthetic dimensions of form.