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Dr Mara Polgovsky

Junior Research Fellow, Queens' College

Centre of Latin American Studies

Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages


Departments and Institutes

Modern & Medieval Languages:

Research Interests

My research focuses on twentieth century Latin American art and visual culture, exploring synchronic developments in heterogeneous local contexts and questioning dated discussions about originality, influence, and autonomy. In my doctoral thesis I analyzed experimental artistic practices, including mail-art, cybernetics, performance, collage, and video art, by the Argentine enfant terrible León Ferrari, the indefatigable writer, activist, and performance artist Diamela Eltit, and the Polish-Mexican émigré Marcos Kurtycz. Their work poses fundamental questions about the interrelations between politics, ethics, and aesthetics in contemporary art and the need to rethink artistic praxis in the light of global flows of capital, changing technologies, and on-going reconfigurations of the political. A strong interest in aesthetic theory has led me to situate my work in dialogue with, among others, Jacques Rancière, Emmanuel Levinas, and Judith Butler. However, I also engage with less canonical thinkers in areas ranging from activism and networked communities to decoloniality. I have published on Benjamin and Brecht, the Latin American neo-avant-garde, video art, performance, relational aesthetics, and the role of religion and the sacred in contemporary art. I have also competed a book project on ‘sabotage,’ a notion etymologically associated with the production of noise.