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Luiz Zanotello

The work of Abyss and Time: Towards an emancipatory poetics of the tropics and critical autoethnographic practices of research within media art

source: Luiz Zanotello

This artistic research project engenders a postcolonial understanding of time, space and movement by means of artistic research methods within media art. The project examines the contradictory effects of the abyssal line (Santos, 2007) in the tropics as a starting point. Located between the imaginary-concrete abyss (Glissant, 1990) separating the global north and south into zones of being and non-being (Fanon, 1967), the tropics are discussed as liminal sites of encounter, political resistance, knowledge production, and dynamic transformation (Anzaldúa, 2015) that challenge the dualistic project of colonialism (Ferreira da Silva, 2016). Within this framework, how do tropical epistemologies, practices and technologies embody temporal, spatial and kinetic contradictions in resistance to the dispossession, extraction and universalization promoted by the abyssal line of thought? By rescuing non-dichotomic modes of thinking-feeling (Santos, 2014) prominent in tropical epistemologies, this research combines critical autoethnographic research methods (Holman Jones, 2016) with artistic practices of reappropriation of technologies as methodologies for experimental research (Bippus, 2015) through media art. The research starts by investigating recurring tropical tropes (such as tropical sunlight, forest, sea, rain, desert) vis-à-vis the abyssal line as material-discursive phenomena (Barad, 2007) that enact one or more of the contradictions of the postcolonial condition (Cusicanqui, 2020).

Transdisciplinary in character, this doctoral project is situated within the fields of artistic research, media art, and the crossings between postcolonial studies, media theory, sociology and philosophy. It at aims, in parallel, at contributing to transdisciplinary methods of knowledge production through the arts and tropical epistemologies, as well as a postcolonial understanding of time, space, and movement that emancipate from the strict categorical imperatives of the abyssal line of thinking.

This research is conducted at the University of the Arts Bremen in cooperation with the Leiden University and the Royal Academy of Art (The Hague).

Luiz Zanotello (*1986, Jundiaí, BR) is a media artist, researcher and educator. In his current artistic research practice, he re-appropriates emerging technologies towards a renewed understanding of time, space and movement within a postcolonial condition. He is an Assistant Professor for New Media at the Berlin University of the Arts (DE), as well as a PhD Candidate and Research Fellow in Artistic Research at the University of the Arts Bremen (DE), and the Leiden University (NL) with the Royal Academy of Art (NL).