May 11, 2022

On May 6, Rubens Riol, a first year Ph.D. student of SPO, presented his paper “Oh Dear… You’re Pregnant! Sexual Exploitation and the Survival of the Monster in Cuban Visual Arts from Wifredo Lam to Brenda Cabrera” as part of Teratophilia: Transmedial Representations of Hybrid Sexualities, an interdisciplinary symposium organized and hosted remotely by New York University (NYU).

“Although the figure of the monster—as a sexual fetish—has occupied an important place in the history of Cuban art since the avant-gardes of the 20th century, it was not until recent years that artists of the new generations have consciously incorporated the concept of hybrid sexualities into their work to talk about the gender neutrality movement or post genderism”, the presenter has said.  

In the talk, Riol analyzed the Crypto Art or Non Fungible Token (NFTs) of Brenda Cabrera, and her queer, trans and non-binary iconography, to understand how does she modernize an entire subject tradition, not only in the light of a new sensibility and paradigm shift, argued by theorists like Paul B. Preciado in his text Can the Monster Speak?, but also paying attention to the mutating ways of producing art for the Metaverse and Web3.

Priyanka Das from Presidency University in India thanked Riol for his “wonderful talk and for introducing the topic of NFTs”, in conversation with Art History, Animal Studies and Psychoanalysis.

While Nicole Grimaldi, member of the organizing committee, highlighted the original idea of young Cuban artist and graphic designer Brenda Cabrera of “developing an imaginary of sexual and gender identities in virtuality, particularly, within the phenomenon of NFTs and Web3—as a decentralized structure—to displace the centers of power concerning the binary structures of the patriarchal discourse”.

As a closing remark, organizers and participants agreed to create the Teratophilia reading group.