Nucleus for Change

"Project Anywhere" Global Exhibition Program 2022-23

Centre of Visual Art (University of Melbourne) and Parsons School of Art, Media and Technology


Nucleus for Change proposes a paradigmatic shift of the Western epistemic thought by understanding the slum as nucleus for knowledge production rather than a marginal place settled down on the peripheries of metropolitan cities. This new perception considers the slum as a central source of knowledge and cultural heritage for humanity. The research begins with studies on decolonial epistemologies from the Global South perspective and it continues with ongoing artistic explorations, such as participatory performances on-site. This project attempt to de-link our thinking process from Western Modernity and highlight the cultural identity of the marginal neighborhood as a decolonial action. The main methodology for this work is the notion of Multipolarity—a way of thinking and doing that comes from the concept of “Sumak Kawsay” (or “Living Well”) a term borrowed from Andean’ Indigenous cultures in South America. Nucleus for Change tends to make visible the favela’s cultural background through the act of re-existence at the margins as autonomous centers of knowledge production. Here, the term re-existence offers an alternative to the use of the term resistance by seeking to carry out an action from the margin towards the center. Significantly, this process of re-existence creates a new form of integration and autonomy of the peripheries by revaluing people’s local cultures. Nucleus for Change does not attempt to reinforce the resistance but to rather to reinstate the relevance the local culture through the act of re-existence. For this ongoing project, re-existence will be achieved by attributing new values to the sub-culture of the neighborhood, and in doing so, reinforcing its strengths as a community through artistic explorations on-site. Consequently, different types of participatory performances will be organized in collaboration with inhabitants and then presents under the name Nucleus for Change.

The on-site research will be carried out by using mobile and articulated structures made from pallets situated in specific locations in public space. Importantly, each object embodies different functional faces and will be relocated in different fields within the slum or between the slum and the city center. The implementation of this research on-site will expand the knowledge of previous decolonial studies from the perspective of the Global South by working through artistic explorations and practical applications of decolonial methodologies such as “multipolarity” and “living well”. Nucleus for Change’s participatory action consist on art workshops, where people are invited to express themselves by playing music, doing arts, poetry, crafts, or any other type of creative work.