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POSTPONED: Art at the Borders of the Political: Film Screening and Lecture with Patricia Astacio
POSTPONED: Art at the Borders of the Political: Film Screening and Lecture with Patricia Astacio
WhenThursday, Apr. 9, 2020, 4 – 6 p.m.
Campus locationHenry Art Gallery and Allen Center for The Visual Arts (HAG)
Event typesScreenings
Event sponsorsSimpson Center, Center for Global Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Jackson School, Anthropology, Comparative History of Ideas

Moral fibers: The Textural politics of the Peruvian alpaca wool supply chain

Within the past decade, ethical and slow fashion markets have expanded in an attempt to "slow" down the pace of production to make supply chains more "ethical," environmentally friendly and sustainable. Lured by the appeal of alpaca wool—a material comparable to cashmere—and accessibility to indigenous manufacture, fashion designers and other industry actors source garments from indigenous artisans across the Peruvian highlands. While being able to produce garments out of a luxury, organic material, fashion designers see their work with artisans as helping revalorize indigenous aesthetics that have been stigmatized as the antithesis of fashion and modernity. In this encounter between the logics of a self-proclaimed "ethical" fashion industry and Andean textile practices, which are rooted in animal and material ontologies, Andean indigeneity is represented and re-imagined as fashionable and part of contemporary Peru. This talk and film screening of Entretejido, will delve into the textures that constitute this supply chain. By looking at interactions between designers and indigenous artisans manufacturing "ethical fashions," I unpack how textile surfaces become an important site of tension across different regimes of value(s). it is in these textile surfaces where socio-cultural negotiations, histories about race and gender, ideas of beauty and national belonging are re-imagined and become material.

Entretejido (33min) is an observational documentary that weaves together the different sites and communities involved in the making of alpaca wool fashions. The film is a sensorial immersion into the textures that compose this supply chain, from animal to runway, employing sonic and visual juxtapositions that explore the fluid complexity of entanglements between Andean artisans, alpaca herders, urban designers, development efforts, and the emerging Peruvian high-fashion world.

Patricia Alvarez Astacio is a Puerto Rican anthropologist and filmmaker whose scholarly research and creative practice develops in the folds between ethnography, critical theory, sensory ethnography and the documentary arts. Her most recent works converge on issues of gender and ethnic representations in neoliberal, post authoritarian Peru. She is currently working on her book manuscript, Moral Fibers: Making Fashion Ethical.

This event is part of Arts at the Borders of the Political. For more information, contact Professor María Elena García at

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