Presenting at the Conference “Rethinking Postcolonial Europe: Moving Identities, Changing Subjectivities”, Justus Liebig University Giessen

8th postgraduate forum Postcolonial Narrations, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Digital Conference, February 10-12, 2021

Thinking ‘Europe’ as an idea, a geographical space, and a political force is inseparable from thinking about its history of imperialism, its postcolonial legacies, and its preoccupation with questions of in and outside, centre and periphery, the self and the other. Migration and the current so-called refugee crisis not only urge a changing perception of those power hierarchies that tend to divide the world between ‘the west’ and ‘the rest’ but also compel new discourses of national and cultural identity and belonging. The recent resurgence of populism and racism connected to the rise of right-wing parties in several European states serves as an uneasy reminder of the continuing influence of hegemonic ideas of European exceptionalism and cultural superiority. Global inequalities persist and the freedom of movement remains linked to where one comes from. At the same time, however, practices of resistance and emancipation in migrant/BPoC self-organisation reimagine Europe as an entangled space (Randeria 1999) that was and is home for different people. Received notions of nation and culture as well as identity and subjectivity have undergone a dramatic change, vividly reflected in the domains of art, literature, media, law, and politics. Investigating these current dynamics from a post-/decolonial perspective is thus crucial to understanding contemporary Europe as a contradictory space and a contested place. (

Peripheral Arteries Interview, 2017

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An interview by Josh Ryder (curator) and Melissa C. Hilborn (curator)
(Selected fragments)

Hello Paula and welcome to Peripheral ARTeries: we would like to start this interview with a couple of questions about your multifaceted background. You graduated from the Chelsea College of Arts and Design (University of the Arts London) with a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts and you also hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Museum Studies. How did these experiences along with your internship at Marc Quinn Studio influence the way you currently conceive your works? And in particular, how did the years you spent in the United Kingdom inform your cultural substratum? […]

My background in Museum Studies deeply influences my current artistic practice and the subjects I focus on, but I also think that particularities of my country of origin awakened these interests in the first place: Argentina is a country with a vast amount of European influence, my own heritage is an entangled mix of Spanish, Italian and French forefathers. Interestingly, I also learned that in both sides of my family we also have native ancestors, something that seemed very unlikely. These facts have always raised questions about my own identity and on how to stand politically, ideologically, and even emotionally regarding the originary cultures of America in relation to the process of «colonization». […] They have also made me question several aspects of the European-centered vision of the world on which I was raised. By the time I moved to England, this ambiguity in which I felt involved, opened up to a whole new level of complexity in a cosmopolitan city as London. I became aware of other ongoing processes of interculturation and post-colonial relationships. […]

This period was enriched by the experience of working as an intern at Marc Quinn’s studio. I was attracted by how the artist investigated his own identity through an array of materials and media […] works like Quinn’s «Garden» made me reflect on nature as a social concept. […] works like Quinn’s «Garden» made me reflect on nature as a social concept. […]

Recently, I went through another process of relocation as I moved to California. I am still processing this whole new perspective of the world and starting to incorporate the experience into my practice.

Summing up, the paths I have taken and my personal research shaped my interest in the material and intangible cultural heritage […] and how they interact with globalization as a contemporary phenomenon. Themes as interculturation and syncretism, otherness, and local and foreign perceptions are recurrent themes. […]

What are the properties you are searching for in the materials that you include in your works?

In the same way I tackle themes determined by metamorphosis, ambiguity, and change, I believe this is reflected in my aesthetics, where the decision of mixing media plays an important role.

I think it reflects my vision of the contemporary world and shows how I perceive it. I fought against this ‘lack of labeling’ but I have come to understand the need to embrace this means of expression as a constitutive aspect of my work and myself. I would call it media syncretism. […]

Would you tell us something about the importance of symbols in your practice and their relationship to memory? […]

[Symbols, in my work] are merged amongst them and play in conjunction with other rhetorical devices. I tend to use them appealing to their enunciative value.

Memory, in my work, articulates past and present as a bridge. It is important to reflect also on collective memory, which plays an important role in my work […] It is neither a fiction nor a mere metaphor but refers to a web of symbols formed through communicative interaction, reaching as far as that sphere of interaction does. […]

Do you consider the issue of audience reception as being a crucial component of your decision-making process, in terms of what type of language is used in a particular context?

I do not think about the reception of my work when I making it. Actually, it is difficult for me to have that kind of empathy with the public, although I enjoy getting to know different ideas and perceptions my work evokes once it is displayed. I might think the direct involvement is related to some degree of intensity, whether you like the pieces or not, they take over the space.


Entrevista Peripheral Arteries, 2017

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Entrevista por Josh Ryder, (curador) y Melissa C. Hilborn, (curadora)
(Selección de fragmentos, traducción propia)

Hola Paula y bienvenida a Peripheral ARTeries: nos gustaría comenzar esta entrevista con un par de preguntas acerca de tu perfil multifacético. Tenés una formación sólida: te graduaste de Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London) con un Diploma de Posgrado en Artes Visuales y de una Licenciatura en Museología. ¿De qué forma estas experiencias, junto con tu pasantía en el estudio de Marc Quinn, influenciaron en la forma en que actualmente concebís tus trabajos? Y en particular, ¿de qué forma los años que viviste en el Reino Unido formaron tu concepción de la cultura? […]

Mis estudios en Museología influencian profundamente mi practica artística actual y los temas en los que me enfoco, pero también creo que ciertas particularidades acerca de mi país de origen despertaron estos intereses en primer lugar: Argentina es un país con una gran influencia europea, mi propia herencia es una confluencia de ancestros españoles, italianos y franceses. Curiosamente, también supe que en ambos lados de mi familia tenemos antepasados nativos, algo que parecía poco probable. Estos hechos siempre despertaron preguntas acerca de mi propia identidad y sobre cómo posicionarme política, ideológica e incluso emocionalmente respecto a las culturas originarias en América en relación al proceso de “colonización”. […] También me hicieron cuestionarme varios aspectos de la mirada del mundo euro-centrada en la que crecí. […] En el momento en el que me mudé a Inglaterra, la ambigüedad en la que me sentía involucrada tomó un nuevo nivel de complejidad, en una ciudad cosmopolita como Londres. Allí me hice consciente de otros procesos interculturación y relaciones postcoloniales. […]

Este periodo también se enriqueció con la experiencia de trabajar como pasante en el estudio de Marc Quinn. Me sentí atraída por la forma en que el artista investigaba su identidad a través de diferentes materiales y medios […] trabajos como “Garden” (Jardín) me hicieron reflexionar sobre la naturaleza como un concepto social. […]

Recientemente, atravesé otra relocalización, ya que me mudé a California. Todavía estoy procesando esta nueva perspectiva del mundo y empezando a incorporar esta experiencia a mi práctica.

Resumiendo, los caminos que he tomado y mi investigación personal modelaron mi interés en el patrimonio cultural tangible e intangible […] y en cómo interactúa con la globalización como fenómeno contemporáneo. Temas como interculturación y sincretismo, Otredad y percepciones sobre lo local y lo foráneo son temas recurrentes. […]

¿Cuáles son las cualidades que estás buscando en los materiales que incluís en tus trabajos?

De la misma forma que abarco temas determinados por metamorfosis, ambigüedad y cambio, creo que esto se ve reflejado en mi estética, donde la decision de mezclar medios juega un rol importante.

Pienso que refleja mi visión del mundo contemporáneo y exhibe cómo lo percibo. Luché contra la “falta de etiquetas” pero llegué a comprender que necesito aceptar este medio de expresión como un aspecto constitutivo de mi trabajo y de mí misma. […]

¿Nos dirías algo de la importancia de los símbolos en tu práctica y su relación con la memoria? […]

[Los símbolos, en mi trabajo,] están fundidos entre sí y juegan en conjunción con otros dispositivos retóricos. Tiendo a usarlos apelando a su valor enunciativo.

La memoria, en mi trabajo, articula pasado y presente como un puente. Es importante también reflexionar en la memoria colectiva, que juega un rol importante en mi obra, concibiéndola como una fuente de conocimiento e información compartida por miembros de un grupo social. No es una ficción ni una mera metáfora, sino que se refiere a una red de símbolos formados a través de interacción comunicativa, alcanzando esferas tan lejanas como la misma interacción.

¿Considerás que el tema de la recepción de la audiencia es un componente crucial en su proceso de toma de decisiones, en términos del tipo de lenguaje usas en un contexto determinado?

No pienso en la recepción de mi obra cuando la estoy haciendo. De hecho, es difícil para mí tener ese tipo de empatía con el público, a pesar de que disfruto conocer las diferentes ideas o percepciones que mi trabajo evoca una vez que es exhibido. Podría  pensar que el involucramiento directo esta relacionado en cierto grado con su intensidad, pueden gustarte o no las obras, pero éstas “invaden” el espacio.



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