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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami


Suely Rolnik Lecture

Art + Research
Wed, Mar 21, 2018
Suely Rolnik. Photo: Sebastian Freire.
Suely Rolnik. Photo: Sebastian Freire.

What Does Micropolitical Resistance Has To Do With Art (and with Clinic)?

The sinister landscape pervading the planet places us in a state of urgency. As with all traumatic situations, when not succumbed, we are able to gain access to the effects of violence in our bodies, and from what such effects reveal to us, we can decode the situation and invent means to combat it. We then discover that the focus of violence under the globalitarian capitalist power is the abuse of life in its essence: a driven force of creation every time life is suffocated in the forms of the present. Faced with this modality of power, a new modality of resistance arises, micropolitics. It consists of disarming the regime of unconscious structured in abuse, thus deserting its formations in the social arena, and along with them, our characters in their scenes. This is done by means of a collective process of subjectivation that transfigures and transvalues those scenes, performing new modes of existence. In this process the boundaries between art, therapeutics and politics become indiscernible.

Suely Rolnik is a Brazilian psychoanalyst, writer and curator. She is a professor at the Catholic University of São Paulo, where she founded the Subjectivity Studies Centre at the Ph.D Program on Clinical Psychology, and was guest professor at the Program of Independent Studies of the Museo d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MacBa) from its foundation in 2008 until its closure in 2015. She was exiled in Paris from 1970–1979, where she obtained a master’s degree in Sociology and Philosophy from Sorbonne / Paris VIII, a master’s in Clinical Human Sciences from Sorbonne / Paris VII, and a clinical Ph.D / D.E.S.S. Upon returning to Brazil, she obtained a Ph.D. in Social Psychology at PUC-SP.

Her research focuses on the politics of subjectivation in different contexts (micropolitics) from a transdisciplinary theoretical perspective, indissociable from clinical-political pragmatics. She authored A hora da Micropolítica (N-1, 2016); Anthropophagie Zombie (Black Jack édit, 2012); Archive mania, (HatjCantz / dOCUMENTA 13, 2011); Cartografia Sentimental. Transformações contemporâneas do desejo (Estação Liberdade, 1989; 4th ed. revised, Sulinas, 2016); and with Félix Guattari: Micropolítica. Cartografias do desejo (Vozes, 1986, 7 th ed. revised, 2005, 14th ed., 2017, in English by Semiotext/MIT, 2006, with the title: Molecular Revolution in Brazil). She is the creator of “Archive for a Work-Event, Activating the Body’s Memory of Lygia Clark’s Poetics and Its Context” (65 film interviews; 2002-2011) and co-curator with Corinne Diserens of the exhibition “Nous sommes le moule. A vous de donner le souffle. Lygia Clark, de l’œuvre à l’événement,” Musée de Beaux-arts de Nantes, 2005, and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 2006. She is one of the founders of the South Conceptualisms Network, currently comprising more than 60 Latin American researchers focused on the continent’s conceptual artistic practices during the 1960s and 1970s. She was an invited researcher of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, París, 2007. She is currently a member of the Advisory Board of th 31th São Paulo Biennial, 2014; the juries of the Casa de las Americas Prize, Cuba, 2014; and of the Prince Claus Award for culture and development, Holland, 2015–2016.