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The parrot and the rabbit

Termin Label
Lecture by Camila Sposati
Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften
Online via Zoom

Ana Magalhães & Sabeth Buchmann: presentation of the programme

As part of the lecture series Transatlantic Modernities between Brazil and Austria.

Starting point and focus of this paper is the discussion of an image as a “matter of concern”: the ambiguous image that represents both a parrot and a rabbit, was found on a 16th century ceramic fragment during the excavation the author undertook for creating the Earth Anatomical Theatre (2014). During the excavation process to prepare the site for the construction, a Portuguese Faience earthenware from the 16th century was found and later analysed by the archaeologist Carlos Etchevarne from the Bahia Federal University. In one position the illustration on the fragment can be seen as a tropical parrot and the other way around as a rabbit. These two ways of seeing and understanding the animal figure open up questions about perspective(s) and interpretation(s).

The blue image reflects an indecisive position between a tropical species and one dwelling in a more temperate climate. How do we see ourselves in this ambiguous image? The two images create a metaphor of indecisiveness. The image mirrors the historical situation of the encounter and what that experience brought for both sides. Exploring notions of comparison and parody they appear in contact zones3 and to think about a differential production of subjectivity that escapes modern dualisms as for example the explorer/exploited, rational/ irrational. She will develop a personal reflection on the cultural objects and fields of knowledge, simultaneously on herself as the person who is making these relations. 

Camila Sposati was born in Sao Paulo. She has a Master's degree in Fine Arts Goldsmiths College, currently based in Vienna, and follows the Ph.D. program at Akademie den bindenden Künste. Her works investigate transformation and energy processes, using methods that often approach scientific research methodologies. It has examined processes on a microscopic and global scale. In her work, Sposati juxtaposes material and historical processes in order to challenge official time and its significations.