BBX Crit Sessions


“Tlacuilolli” or Other Queer Ancient Ways of Knowing

Antonió de León y Gama, drawing of a statue of Coatlicue, ca. 1751–1800, courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University

Free admission, fully booked

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststraße 69
10117 Berlin

BBX Crit Sessions
“Tlacuilolli” or Other Queer Ancient Ways of Knowing
Zairong Xiang
Lecture as part of the Curators Workshop, introduced by Antonia Majaca, in English

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Coatlicue Mayor, the colossal statue housed in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico-City, has been attributed to the crucial (divine) figure of Aztec/Nahua mythology as well as Chicana feminism: Coatlicue. Revisiting its turbulent reception after the European conquest of the Americas, its demonization and disenchantment in modern/colonial time, the talk will first displace Coatlicue Mayor out of the art disciplinary proper and study it as a cosmo-philosophical tlacuilolli (Nahua concept of writing/painting). Combining decolonial methodologies of un/learning, queer obligations of debunking the heterocoloniality of knowledge, the talk will further proceed to show how we can read otherwise and concretely what epistemic decolonization looks like and why it matters. By focusing on an unusual feature of Coatlicue Mayor, its hidden underside, the talk will end with a reflection on the queer/decolonial politics of in/visibility and evasion.

Zairong Xiang is postdoctoral researcher of the DFG Research Training Group “Minor Cosmopolitanisms” at the University of Potsdam. Prior to Potsdam, he was research fellow at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. He holds a PhD in Comparative Literature.

The Curators Workshop directed by Antonia Majaca and Sohrab Mohebbi acts as a close reading of the 10th Berlin Biennale, with unique interjections from selected respondents. For more information about the workshop and its public programs, please visit the project page.