Colonial Archives, Erotics, and Latin/x American Performance

A symposium with artists Carlos Motta, Emilio Rojas, and Yelaine Rodríguez, moderated by Josefina Saldaña Portillo & Zeb Tortorici.

This symposium brings together three artists—Carlos Motta, Yelaine Rodriguez, & Emilio Rojas—whose work has imaginatively engaged their own partly eroticized, partly obscured bodies to read new meaning into colonial devotions, records, narratives, and artifacts. Motta, Rodriguez, and Rojas use queer performance art and erotic embodiment to critique colonizing representations and the breath radical potential into archived pasts and collected objects. Each presents work related explicitly to the erotics of colonial archives, which opens up a roundtable conversation on the intersections of colonial archives, sexuality, performance art, and decolonial praxis in the present. The event will be followed by a reception.

Carlos Motta’s (b. 1978, Colombia) multi-disciplinary art practice documents the social conditions and political struggles of sexual, gender, and ethnic minority communities in order to challenge normative discourses through acts of self-representation. As a historian of untold narratives, Motta is committed to in-depth research on the struggles of post-colonial subjects and societies. His work manifests in a variety of mediums including video, installation, sculpture, drawing, web-based projects, performance, and symposia.Motta’s work was the subject of the survey exhibitions Carlos Motta: Stigmata, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá (MAMBO) (2023); Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, USA (2022); Carlos Motta: Formas de libertad at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM), Colombia (2017) that traveled to Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile (2018); and Carlos Motta: For Democracy There Must Be Love, Röda Sten Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden (2015). In 2024, he will have a mid-career survey exhibition at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).

Yelaine Rodriguez (b.1990) is an AfroDominicanYork artistic scholar, educator, independent curator, cultural organizer, and writer who merges her creative language and academic research within her practice. As a visual artist, Rodriguez conceptualizes wearable art, sculptures, and site-specific installations drawing connections between her research on Black cultures in the Caribbean and the United States. She received her BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design | The New School (2013) and her MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Museum Studies from New York University (2021). She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at The New School and NYU.


Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance using video, photography, installation, public interventions, and sculpture. As a queer, Latinx immigrant with Indigenous heritage, it is essential to his practice to engage in the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He utilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration, and poetics of space. His research-based practice is heavily influenced by queer and feminist archives, border politics, botanical colonialism, and defaced monuments. Besides his artistic practice, he is also a translator, community activist, yoga teacher, and anti-oppression facilitator with queer, migrant, and refugee youth. He holds an M.F.A. in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a B.F.A. in Film from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada.

RSVP here

This event is free & open to the public. RSVP is required for audience members without an active NYU ID.

For more information, please contact NYU Hemispheric Institute.


Sep 21 2023


6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

More Info



20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
QR Code

0 replies on “Colonial Archives, Erotics, and Latin/x American Performance”