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Spanish and Latin American Undergrounds: Another Politics of Latin Cinemas with Tinker Visiting Professor Juan Antonio Suárez
This talk will use the notion "underground cinema" as what anthropologist James Clifford named a form of "traveling culture": while North-American in origin and lineage, it became, during the 1960s, a form of international film culture that was adapted to several national contexts, where it experienced considerable variation. The Spanish and Latin American underground cinemas arose from the dialogue between local filmmakers and the international--mostly North American--experimental film and youth culture, but they also incorporated local styles and social and cultural reference, producing in the process hybrid texts that were at once avant-garde in form and outlook and also profoundly rooted in their conditions of production and in the aspirations and ideologies of their intended national audiences. The notion of "underground" allows us to track a form of discrepant modernism that remains significantly coherent across the Spanish speaking world, but whose specificity and transnational reach remains to be explored. It also allows us to explore a different politics from that customarily studied in relation to Latin American film: the politics of leisure, dissident fashion and style, altered perception, and unorthodox gender and sexuality. Examples will be drawn mostly from the Argentinean, Brazilian, Mexican, and Spanish undergrounds. Juan Antonio Suárez (M. A., Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Film Studies, Indiana University) teaches American Studies at the University of Murcia, Spain. His main academic interests are modernist literature, independent and experimental cinema, contemporary art, and sound studies. He is the author of the books Bike Boys, Drag Queens, and Superstars (Indiana UP 1996), Pop Modernism: Noise and the Reinvention of the Everyday (U of Illinois P 2007), and Jim Jarmusch (U of Illinois P 2007). He is also an associate editor of the “Cinema and Modernism” section of Routledge’s on-line Encyclopedia of Modernism and the co-editor, with David Walton, of the volumes Culture, Space, Politics: Blurred Lines (Lexington / Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) and Borders, Networks, Escape Lines: The Spatial Politics of Contemporary Fiction (forthcoming, P. Lang, 2017). He has published numerous essays on modernist literature and experimental film in Spanish and English. Recent work in English has appeared in journals such as Grey Room, ExitBook, Criticism, and Screen, and in the edited collections Film Analysis, 2nd. Ed., eds. J. Geiger and R. L. Rutsky (W. W. Norton, 2013), Birds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle, ed. Marketa Uhlirova (Walther Koenig, 2014), The Modernist World, eds. Lindgren and Ross (Routledge, 2015), and The Music and Sound of Experimental Film, eds. Rogers and Barham (Oxford UP, 2017), among others. He has curated film programs for X-Céntric/Centro de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona, Tate Modern-London, Museum Reina Sofía (Madrid), and MOCA-LA-Pacific Film Archive and, together with Juan Guardiola, is currently curating the exhibition "Nuestro deseo es una revolución: la cultura audiovisual LGTBIQ en el Estado español" for CentroCentro Cibeles-Ayuntamiento de Madrid. He is one of the coordinators of the trans-European collaborative research project “Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDs Queer Sexual Cultures,” involving the University of Edinburgh, Humboldt University, University of Warsaw, and University of Murcia, and funded by the European Science Foundation / European Union. He is currently writing a book on experimental film and queer materiality.