Returning to the main themes and lines of analysis developed in the book and to the collaborative research process, this chapter draws the volume’s conclusions. Constructed as a hybrid between written and oral text, it is a dialogue and a conversation in the form of the Mapuche nütxam – extensively adopted during the research project – between the book’s three editors and the project’s coordinators. This conversation, taking place in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 emergency, hovers around the authors’ positionalities, collaboration and frictions. In doing so, it elaborates on the process of collaborative research and collective writing, knowledge production, methodological decolonisation and indigenous political aesthetics and their broader meaning from both an anthropological and activist standpoint.
Building on analyses of the relationship between race, aesthetics and politics, the volume elaborates on the epistemological possibilities arising from collaborative and decolonial methodologies at the intersection of ethnography, art, performance and the urban space. It moves from practice-based and collaborative research with young Mapuche and mestizo artists and activists in Santiago (Chile), drawing together a range of different materials: from artworks to theatre and performance; from graphics to audio and visual materials. An edited collection, the book is constructed by shifting between different authorships and changing perspectives from the individual to the collective. This approach, while to a certain extent within the classical structure of editors/authors, plays with the roles of researcher/research participant, highlighting the ambiguities, frictions and exchanges involved in this relationship. Elaborating on indigenous knowledge production, the book thus addresses the possibility of disrupting the social and material landscape of the (post)colonial city by articulating meanings through artistic and performative representations. As such, the essays contained in the book put forward alternative imaginations constructed through an aesthetic defined by the Mapuche concept of champurria (‘mixed’): a particular way of knowing and engaging with reality, and ultimately an active process of home- and self-making beyond the spatialities usually assigned to colonised bodies and subjects. Actively engaging with current debates through collective writing by indigenous people raising questions in terms of decolonisation, the book stands as both an academic and a political project, interrogating the relationship between activism and academia, and issues of representation, authorship and knowledge production.
The Proscenium introduces the site-specific theatre play Santiago Waria, addressing the interdisciplinary methodology adopted and lingering on its development, particularly from the perspective of scenic arts. The Proscenium introduces site-specific theatre and performance as it has been developed in Latin America and in Chile. It then illustrates the specific urban spatialities constituting the main nodes of the theatre piece as an interactive city tour, describing the concrete process of construction and rehearsal of the play, as a shared creative process engaging with the social and material landscape of the (post)colonial city.
An Imaginary for Urban Mapuche Jewellery / Warian Rütran
Cynthia Niko Salgado Silva
In Santiago, Mapuche communities have been organising and adapting spaces for cultural and political manifestations, ceremonies and exchanges of knowledge. A strong connection to the territory in the south of the country is maintained through travelling and visiting relatives or participating in the activities of the community of origin. However, despite the large indigenous population living in the Chilean capital, there is no clear territorial identity linked to the city and represented in clothing and/or jewellery, as is the case for traditional identities in the ancestral territory. Specific jewellery designs are linked to particular places, according to geographical and genealogical characteristics, becoming testimonial portraits of cosmogonic spirituality and political organisation. Yet in Santiago, there is no specific design of jewellery, but rather a mixing style (champurriado) mirroring heterogeneous and multiple identities. This chapter elaborates on the artwork Sonidos bajo el cemento (Sounds beneath concrete), proposing an imagined Mapurbe jewellery design based on conversations with Mapuche youths in Santiago.
This edited collection, Affective intimacies, provides a novel platform for re-evaluating the notion of open-ended intimacies through the lens of affect theories. Thus, this collection is not about affect and intimacy, but affective intimacies. Instead of foregrounding certain predefined categories of affects or intimacies, the book focuses on processes, entanglements and encounters between humans as well as between human and non-human bodies that provide key signposts for grasping of affective intimacies. Throughout, Affective intimacies addresses the embodied, affective and psychic aspects of intimate entanglements across various timely phenomena. Rather than assuming that we could parse affective intimacies in a pre-defined way, the collection asks how the study of affect enables us to rethink intimacies, what affect theories can do to the prevailing notion of intimacy and how they renew and enrich theories of intimacy. Affective intimacies brings together a selection of original chapters which invite readers to follow and reconsider affective intimacies as they unfold in the happenings of everyday lives and in their mobile, affective and more-than-human intricate predicaments. In this manner, the edited collection makes a valuable contribution to the social sciences and humanities which have yet to recognise and utilise the potential to imagine affective intimacies in alternative ways, without starting from the already familiar terrains, theories and conceptualisations. By so doing, it advances the value of interdisciplinary perspectives and creative methodologies in thinking in terms of affective intimacies.
Closeness and distance in LGBTQ+ women’s relationships
The chapter explores the significance of gender in LGBTQ+ women’s relationships. It begins with an observation of the closeness and easiness of certain LGBTQ+ women’s relationships, while others struggle with unequal approaches to sharing childcare and domestic responsibilities in ways that strikingly resemble the gendered conventions of heterosexual relationships. Arguing that the framework of gendered conventions is limited, I analyse gender as becoming in and through affective assemblages. The chapter thus shifts the focus from the human-centred paradigm that would approach gender as an identity that ‘belongs to a person’, to a more nuanced approach where multiple elements and affective intimacies of a gender assemblage can be identified. For the purposes of the chapter, I analyse two data sets: interviews with LGBTQ+ women who have experienced a recent relationship break-up, and a longitudinal set of interviews with bisexual women and their variously gendered (ex)partners. My analysis shows how the accumulating affective intimacies of a gender assemblage, which are a co-constitution of many elements – e.g. sexual desire, cultural norms and ideas about gender, (shared) interests, events and material spaces – have an ability to bring certain gendered bodies closer to one another while pushing others away from one another. The chapter also shows how equalities and inequalities emerge in temporally shifting ways in LGBTQ+ women’s gender assemblages and how this is entangled with closeness and distance in their relationships.
Non-binary youth and affective (re)orientations to family
In this chapter, I analyse the experiences of gender non-binary individuals using the web of affects and obligations experienced within the family. I seek to show how the ordinariness of family intimacy is transformed when it encounters transgender non-binary lives. Building on research on the everyday lives of gender and/or sexual non-binary people conducted from 2015 to 2019, I present case studies of four gender non-binary individuals and their stories of ‘journeying away from’ – and sometimes back to – family intimacy that failed to deliver on its promises. By analysing four case studies of non-binary individuals and their stories of negative family reactions to the disclosure of their gender identity, I seek to capture the messiness of family intimacy as it unfolds through the affective orientations of family members. This analysis builds on Ahmed’s work on emotions and affective orientation and Bourdieu’s work on the conceptual pairing of affective obligations – obliged affects. Transgender participants tell their stories of silencing, rejection and neglect, and of being affected by the promise of family as a happy object. Namely, they tell the stories of subtle and more forceful affective mechanisms of shame, guilt and responsibility for upholding the fiction of family as an unconditional, intimate and haven-like relationship, and show how one can be affected by the promise of family as a happy object.
In this chapter, I examine the development of the idea of a lesbian in Tampere, Finland by utilising accounts from oral history interviews regarding two different lesbian and gay party venues run by the local lesbian and gay organisation Vagabondi from 1977 to 1988. While concentrating on an embodied and collective circulation of affects I maintain that women who visited the parties were affected not only by the gender composition of the events, but, quite importantly, also by their material entanglements. By coining the term lesboratory for the apparatus of entangled material and social intra-actions, I draw attention to the productive and affective role of materiality in creating the idea of a lesbian. I maintain that the materiality of these two different party venues provided not only the preconditions for bodily encounters, but they also significantly co-constituted and informed the self-understanding of the participating guests. Hence, by demonstrating how the different venues were actively and intimately participating in the production of meaning and the forming of what was an emerging idea of a lesbian, the chapter participates in the ongoing discussions regarding affective and spatial turns in analysing the past and argues for the importance of combining the two.
A love story of queer intimacies between (her) body and object (her cigarette)
Dresda E. Méndez de la Brena
In what way do ‘things matter’ to the lives of chronically ill and disabled individuals? What kinds of ‘care arrangements’ do they enter into and make with the material world so they can live as well as possible? This chapter offers an intimate exploration of how objects come to matter within disability worlds, and the role they play in different care-making practices and various forms of love production. Against the background of the love story of caring for my partner, who is narcoleptic and a heavy smoker, this chapter introduces the concept of ‘caring matter’, through which I theorise queer intimacies between disabled persons and objects. Building on an auto-phenomenographic exploration of my autobiographical writing, poetry and photography, I explore the ‘intimate act of love’ framed in the smoking-and-breathing encounter between my partner and her cigarette. In the conclusion, I summarise my reflections on ‘caring matter’, and the ways that matter can show us how non-human care ‘works’ when human-provided care is absent or insufficient. Ultimately, I ask for critical thinking on smoking from the perspective of feminist intersectionality and disability studies.
The discomforts of empathy as white feminist affect
As important as empathy is to building the intimate-political assemblages of feminist solidarity, it is often perilous across the divisions of race. The capacity to empathise – long celebrated in Anglo-American feminism – no longer appears as such a straightforward ethical or epistemic virtue when read through the lens of post-colonial and critical race theory. A fortiori, it loses something of its secure tenure as a feminist virtue. This chapter diagnoses a specific form of ‘empathy trouble’ that haunts the feminist consciousness of white-settler societies under the pressure of this critical reappraisal. It explores why ambivalence accompanies the efforts of the white feminist subject who, on one hand, wants to maintain her empathetic identifications with the victims of racial oppression, yet, on the other, must divest herself of wilful ignorance regarding the potential for white women’s empathy to enact racial privilege, ‘white innocence’ and the affective intimacies of colonisation.