Jessica Valdez


Talks

Mirrors for sale! / Mirrors for sale!

As inhabitants of an often said globalized world and appealed to live in a multi-cultural society we hold this invitation to observe how our attitudes, habits and intentions may reproduce colonial patterns.

Therefore we would like to raise awareness around the phenomenon of “cultural appropriation”. We depart from the understanding that cultural appropriation is (1) when somebody adopts elements of a culture that is not their own (2) the meaning of this element is decontextualized, “emptied” or whitewashed (3) a power dynamic is present since members from a dominant culture are taking these elements from a culture of people who have been systematically oppressed by a dominant group.

Along this workshop we will approach this issue with the following questions:
- What is the relevance of “cultural exchange”, “cultural appreciation” and “cultural appropriation” in our daily life?
- How do I recognize the elements that feed cultural appropriation?
- How are colonial patterns traceable to nowadays?
- When I reflect on “healthier” and fairer attitudes. What can I shape in my behavior?

We will offer a space where we can have an open and brave verbal and non-verbal conversation on the topic. This issue will be approached via (1) a performative from the instructors, (2) short discussions around cultural appropriation and the lenses we see it through, namely the colonial matrix of power elaborated by the collective modernity/coloniality/decoloniality and (3) drawing from techniques from Theater of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal.

We hope that participants leave this space with the conviction to reflect on their consumption behavior and habits and with a grasp on how to dismantle discriminatory (and therefore harmful) structures which have been offering us illusions for so long.