Hot Links 08: Yina Jiménez Suriel

Brian interviewed Yina Jiménez Suriel. Yina is one half of our fantastic curatorial duo behind the upcoming Caribbean group show, which will open in June.

— Tell us about yourself?

I am a Dominican curator and researcher. I’m a Caribbean woman who believes in the value of local identifications but don’t accepts its borders. My professional practice is oriented, above all, to establishing links. Links, because they are essential to operate in the face of current socio-political dynamics. My focus in the last two years, in which I have been working from the Dominican Republic, has been to research the everyday, artistic and intellectual practices from the Caribbean region that converge in the production of visuality to subvert the neoliberal, conservative and patriarchal axes of power. One of my goals as a cultural agent is to delve into what, how, when, why and for whom these practices have functioned. This exercise is key for the reactivation or generation of new forms of resistance to the current dynamics of what I call mecanismo- Caribe (Caribbean-mechanism).

mecanismo- Caribe is a fictional concept with which I intend to define a set of devices whose origins should be sought even before the appearance of its historiographic record in the region. This mechanism has resulted in an abstract but specific world’s worldview of a particular social subject on a specific geography. It is then a set of resilient devices, some of which have undergone transformations and adaptations over time that have not allowed greater cohesion of the regional gear. I would dare to say that on many occasions these mechanisms have caused just the opposite.

— What is your connection to the Caribbean Art Initiative?

The main connection is that we share the same interest in working with the cultural context of the Greater Caribbean. And, regarding an open call from CAI in September of 2019, I am co-curating with the Puerto Rican Pablo Guardiola, an exhibition project that opens this summer at the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger. The opportunity is key to connect with the wide network of friends and collaborators close to the organization.

— What does “cultural exchange” mean to you?

Cultural exchange means to me, flux, links … it is a dialogue tool that is also a mediation. In that sense, it is a concept that refers to the sea. In my opinion, exchanging cultures is essential to build diverse presents.

— What is a unique perspective or element about the Caribbean that you would like the global community to know better?

I am excited to think that the global community could get to know in a better way the production of Caribbean thought in its diverse aesthetic, literary languages, representations, visuals, spaces, and rhythms.

— And finally, describe something that is “hot” to you.

For me, something hot are the roads that physically connect the Dominican Republic with Haiti because it shows the interdependence of both populations. The roads move ideas in different materialities that are, after all, the digestion of individual and collective human life conceptions. I think that those roads have been an unparalleled tool to mediate and communicate realities in more humane and sensitive ways than divisive agendas of diplomatic and academic bureaucracies.

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