On the Bewitched Object

The artist Duen Sacchi dismantles the concept of «fetish» to point out how—from the colonial order inaugurated by the West—narrative senses are built around time, also determining the production and consumption of artistic objets, bodies, and subjectivities from the gaze. Starting from the Paranaguazu fire in Brazil, Sacchi reflects on the destructive power of what has been established so far.

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  1. Karai is a term in Brazil that refers to white settlers.

  2. On August 16, 2019, Milcíades Mansilla died. Mansilla was a Qom leader from Pampa del Indio, an important figure for the Pampa del Indio Land Zoning Commission in the struggle against the dispossession of land in the Chaco region.

  3. For a complete history of the word, William Pietz has carried out extensive work on the term, see “The Problem of the Fetish, I” in Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No. 9, Spring 1985, p. 10.

  4. Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill; London, 1994). (Originally published in 1944).

  5. Between 1914 and 1944, several Anglican missions were created under the auspices of the colonial project in the Chaco in Central and Western Argentina with the goal of converting indigenous peoples, primarily the Wichi, but also the Toba, Nivaclé, Chorote, and Pilagá.

  6. I am following the thinking of María Lugones, Aníbal Quijano, and Aimé Césaire concerning coloniality and colonialism, among others.

  7. Michel Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge (New Yotk: Tavistock Publications Limited, 1972). A discursive formation “is a body of anonymous, historical rules, always determined in the time and space that have defined a given period, and for a given social, economic, geographical, or linguistic area, the conditions of operation of the enunciative function” (Foucault, 117).

  8. Duen Sacchi, Ficciones Patógenas (Madrid: Brumaria, 2018).

  9. Here, I am following Aura Cumes in using the concept of dispossession (despojo) rather than pillage (expolio) or other similar terms in order to emphasize the impact of colonialism and coloniality.


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