Elvira collective

Challanges for the Survival of the Cutest

Elvira is an ephemeral collective, which meets to propose a specific project to Flora‘s cabinet, formed by two artists (Luciana Ponte and Juan Guillermo Tamayo) and a curator (Marilia Loureiro)

Historically the cabinet of curiosities is the space that stores the treasures and collections of extraordinary things found outside in the world. This “wonder room” marks a time of great explorations and discoveries, and at the same time, of great exploitations and colonization. The relationship between knowledge and domination is, perhaps, one of the most important tension knots in the configuration of these cabinets.

We use the historical heritage of the cabinet of curiosities to evoke childhood as a time that similarly represents great explorations and discoveries, exploitations and colonization, encounters with the extraordinary and at the same time relations of domination as a way of knowing.

By bringing a portion of nature to city life, some mechanisms of power and cruelty are shown, transvestites of tenderness and affection. The transformation of nature into cosmetic and its domestication under urban life forms are almost always too neutralized, excluding its inconvenient aspects.


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“Challenges for the Survival of the Cutest” consists of a two-channel video installation: a series of interviews about unfortunate episodes with pets, related to childhood accidents or awkwardness, and an edition of videos of puppies taken from the Internet, in addition of an environment that occupies the Cabinet of Flora with images and objects from the pet products industry.
Part of the filming of the audiovisual material takes place in the opening event of the exhibition, where the public participates telling their anecdotes.



What interests us is to set up a cabinet in which the representation of the tender live with the stories of unfortunate episodes. This short circuit between the two registers conflicts with the construction of peaceful images, such as childhood, pets, nature, discoveries, the “wonder”, the tenderness and brings to the surface other dynamics that shape these relationships.

We resort to humor and memory as critical tools. We take laughter as an instrument capable of cracking the pretense solidity of the values ??and conventions in force, positioning ourselves more towards the insumission of the burlesque than to the fiction of seriousness. Humor opens the possibility of ambiguity and proposes contradiction as a method – being both violent and kind, incendiary and peaceful. Memory not exactly like the ‘past’, but as an instrument of the present, which builds counter-narratives, breaks the naturalization of images and their respective production of affections.


FLORA ars + natura
may 2016


This project was made possible thanks to the support of some friends, whom we would like to thank: Carlos Lerma, Santiago Pinyol, Juan Echeverry, Andrea Quitián Naranjo, Mario Santanilla y a todos los entrevistados que nos regalaron sus anécdotas.