Carlos Motta: Histories for the Future

Carlos Motta: Histories for the Future

Pérez Art Museum Miami

Carlos Motta, Towards a Homoerotic Historiography (detail), 2014. Tumbaga washed silver miniature figure. Courtesy the artist; Mor Charpentier Galerie, Paris; and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York. Photo: Carlos Motta.

July 13, 2016
Carlos Motta
Histories for the Future
July 15, 2016–January 15, 2017
Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd
Miami, Florida 33132
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Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) presents Histories for the Future, an exhibition showcasing works by Carlos Motta, curated by María Elena Ortiz, opening on July 15, 2016. The exhibition is accompanied by a one-day symposium on September 23, 2016, titled “Nefandus: Colonial Sexual Alterity and Histories for the Future,” conceptualized by Pablo Bedoya and Carlos Motta.

Histories for the Future explores ideas of gender, sexuality, and violence through a series of works cited in Latin America. Including four videos and an installation of 20 miniature sculptures, this exhibition takes the viewer back to the time of the conquest of the Americas (1492–1898), when people were brutally condemned for engaging in non-normative sexual practices such as sodomy, masturbation, and zoophilia. In the videos Deseos (2015) and the Nefandus Trilogy (2013), Motta creates narratives inspired by real-life accounts of people who were persecuted for their sexual orientations. A related sculptural installation titled Towards a Homoerotic Historiography (2014) investigates the relationship between hetero-dominated narratives and alternative sexual expressions. Providing insights on the construction of sexual and gender identities within colonial societies, Histories for the Future offers alternative stories of sex, gender, and violence through an expansive approach that recognizes the plurality of human sexuality in different geographic and cultural contexts.

In this exhibition, Motta advocates for a revision of history, attempting to do his part to fill in the blanks left in the official historical record. Uninterested in creating an archive of victims or a utopian vision of the past, the artist instrumentalizes multiple voices, including perspectives from indigenous people alongside the already well-recorded history of religious dominance and conquest. Relying on strategies both of documentary practice and fiction to create new narratives that reflect the plurality of human sexual identities, Motta also exposes the cartographies of oppression under totalitarian ideologies that do not account or allow for difference.

Histories for the Future is curated by María Elena Ortiz and on view at PAMM until January 15, 2017. 

“Nefandus: Colonial Sexual Alterity and Histories for the Future”
September 23, 11am–6pm

Studies of colonial sexualities have held a marginal place on contemporary academic, political, and cultural agendas, making dissemination of knowledge about sexuality and gender in the colonial period difficult, and limiting our understanding of their effects in the present. Our contemporary culture experiences new forms of “coloniality” that determine sexuality and gender and the production of subjectivities: why do we need to understand the social production of sex/gender in the context of colonialization? Can these experiences reframe the historical evolution of certain subjects’ alterity? What can peripheral sexualities tell us about the hegemonic order? Where should the boundary be drawn between peripheral/abject/subordinate sexualities and normative behaviors? What means are available for approaching that past? Are other methods, theories, and languages useful to approach colonial studies as a means for understanding our current problems?

“Nefandus: Colonial Sexual Alterity and Histories for the Future” seeks to generate dialogues that will allow us to compare and disseminate the work of US, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian academics and artists who have carried out research on the various ways those societies have been shaped by the experience of colonialism.

This symposium is organized by artist Carlos Motta and historian Pablo Bedoya.

Anjali R. Arondekar, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz
Joseph Massad, Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University
Fernanda Molina, Researcher, National Council of Scientific Research, Buenos Aires
Pete Sigal, Professor of History, Duke University, and Senior Editor, Hispanic American Historical Review

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