Author Archives: dalida maría benfield

About dalida maría benfield

Dalida María Benfield, Ph.D., is an interdisciplinary artist and theorist who engages the possibilities of feminist and decolonial thinking and doing in the context of global information technologies. Her work initiates and participates in collective processes of knowledge production and autonomous cultural interventions, with video and the Internet positioned as technologies that may be remade by the shared knowledge and networks of users-producers.

Announcement: Institute of (im)Possible Subjects: Migratory Times

Institute of (Im)possible Subjects

The Institute of (im)Possible Subjects (IiS) is a transnational feminist collective of artists, writers, and researchers.

We are pleased to announce Migratory Times, a global art, research, and education initiative that will be our focus in 2016 and 2017.

We are recipients of an inaugural Abundance Foundation Out of Eden Community Arts Fellowship in support of the project’s launch.

We are working closely with collaborators globally, with primary nodes in S. Korea, the Philippines, and Colombia, engaging in translocal conversations on questions of global migrations, gender, and the politics of movement. Each of these nodes will host, in overlapping sequence, a series of exhibitions, screenings, educational events, and art and media production workshops. The main events, held outside of metropolitan centers, will emerge from research groups and learning circles engaging the experience of migrants and refugees in the different localities; the temporalities of migration; the geo-politics of human migration; and…

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Sharing this gorgeous contribution by Annie Fukushima from my new project 24 hour social studies! Visit at!


by Annie Isabel Fukushima

Here is a lecture I gave drawing upon Mae Ngai’s work, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America” – “What is an American? Genocide, Relocation, Citizenship and Making of the ‘Illegal’“ (September 23, 2016) at the University of Utah. The class: 100 students, majority students of color with many who have migrant narratives in their own histories and/or their family histories. It was important that we had a conversation about the making of the term “illegal.” Ngai’s work has been seminal for understanding the legal construction of citizenship and the “illegal.“

During the election period, living in a conservative state, where migrant communities are an integral part of the Utah context, discussing migration is ever important.

Lessons learned:

1. The term “illegal” has so much history, that even when you trouble it for students, they may still find it challenging…

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Join us! Alongside the Institute of (im)Possible Subjects’ year long “Migratory Times” art and research project, we announce our next flashread of the introduction to Mae Ngai’s book “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.” Our namesake!

From 12 a.m February 17 to 20 in your time zone, join us in reading the text and posting responses to this tumblr. Responses can be submitted using the submit button. The reading is posted on the tumblr. Welcome to the conversation!




Happy new year! I’m re-blogging this from The Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects tumblr site. We are super excited to announce a public “flashread” of this text by Stefano Harvey and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study.

This is the first of many future “flashreads” we will be hosting over the coming year using open access publications as the basis for engaging public symposia and debate.

Lasting for three days, each “flashread” will engage a public readership in discussion about a contemporary theoretical text that addresses the most important issues of our time, from the perspective of the transnational feminist concerns of the editorial collective.

Participation is simple: Read the text and post responses to it to this tumblr via the submissions form. Or just follow along!

All responses are welcome, including images, text, sound, and video.

Looking forward to being in conversation with you about The Undercommons.

Publishing in/with/and Precarity

National Women's Studies Association Conference "I'm Presenting: Precarity" Badge

National Women’s Studies Association Conference “I’m Presenting: Precarity” Badge

As the badge (which suffers from a bit of irony deficiency), provided by the NWSA tells you: “I’m Presenting!” at Precarity, the NWSA Annual Conference. Organized by Laura Fantone, a member of the editorial collective of the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects (I(i)S), several members of the I(i)S are leading a workshop that will share experiences of publishing and envision new possibilities for transnational feminist publishing. To widen the circle of the conversation, we are asking for contributions of stories about publishing, which we will use as taking off points for our discussion. The I(i)S is a platform for knowledge creation and sharing, and this is one of many ongoing events that, we hope, instigates critical engagement in the current conditions of publishing and starts new threads of conversation.

Please share your stories, good, bad, ugly, critical, joyful, indifferent, with us here. Here is the text from the call for contributions:

Publishing in Precarity (Deadline: November 15, 2015)

We pose these questions for your/our consideration:

Women, queer, and/or transgender academic voices, how are our subjectivities institutionally constrained? How is our precariousness related to our challenges of disciplinary boundaries? Institutional language? Clearcut positioning in terms of racial/gender/class/ethnicity/ boundaries? What does publishing academic work mean to ‘marginal’ subjectivities? what kinds of erasures, containment processes and limited translations are we forced into? What spaces are we building precariously, in order to escape old tokenisms and the curse of the “women” / “Queer” / “Transgender” / “Queer of color” doing “gender studies” and publishing gender stuff ‘only’? In what way does publishing as collective entity, floating precariously on-line, liberate us from institutionalization?

We will discuss the stories shared with us in relation to our stories – to find common context and a ground to discuss publishing in precarity. Your stories will be shared – anonymously if you choose – at the National Women’s Studies Association conference during our roundtable, “Publishing in/and/with Precariousness.” We will also be publishing a ‘zine and an online publication based on our discussions.

Thank you for your contributions and please, stay in touch with us and continue the conversation!

Details of the presentation:

Publishing in/and/with/ Precariousness
Sun, Nov 15, 8:00 to 9:15am, Wisconsin Center, 103D (LCD)
Presenters: Dalida Maria Benfield, Laura Fantone, Tara Daly.
Discussant: Annie Isabel Fukushima


The Codex Hackathon was a super interesting arena for exploring forms of reading and assembling information across digital and physical codices and expanded, immersive engagement with multiple texts. The work that I’ve been doing on speculative forms of online & offline exhibition of aggregations of digital and physical artworks has put me in a state of dysphoria regarding the current norms of information architecture. The infinity of formal possibility seems to be locked away in endless grids, with a temporality of “now”ness that nevertheless endlessly evokes historical elsewheres. Our group had a dynamic conversation and flexible, open membership with many folks dropping in and adding thoughts to the mix. The presence of the amazing book scanner designed by Dany Qumsiyeh – as well as the presence of other folks from the Noisebridge hacker space (great space! can’t wait to visit again!) in San Francisco – accentuated thinking across the intimacy of the physical presence of a book and the pleasures of annotating paper. With this scanning – a tactile/machinic process – as a starting point, and working with the amazing team of Dany, Robert Ochshorn, SJ Klein, Matthew Battles, and other important voices who dropped in, we began pushing on thinking vertically + horizontally, with the multiple speeds of video, words, and stills…and generated a series of experimental codices: an audio codex, a book codex, and a digital codex (please put all of those terms in quotes, as I’m not sure they’re accurate anymore…). The audio codex is a printed file of a conversation about a book – wavelengths, words, digital dust. The audio was a recording about Trevor Paglen’s contribution to The Thing The Book, and the slipperiness of situating representation itself that is proposed by his contribution is echoed by the codex, printed and folded in the barely visible pauses of sound (or as Matthew Battles put it, the “conversation white knuckling its way into code”); the “book” codex is a remix of scanned annotations of paper books; and the “digital” codex is a cross linking of scanned and annotated pages of McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage and video/audio from the Internet Archive and the Prelinger Archive. In fact, we had a great conversation Saturday night with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger that energized us towards the already urgent project of intersecting video in ways that seem so simple, and yet so rare now online – beautiful compelling pathways that cross/expand texts! Isn’t that the intertextual promise – or maybe it’s precisely the formation of the “text” in thinking “intertextuality” that has limited the spaces of meaning? Grids, lines, the traces of a certain type of machinic thought production. Why is fluidity so locked away? Working to find the fluidity seems to mean rethinking everything, or thinking from other spaces of generativity. Other tools and machines yet to be produced and reworked…for me, a space that I am meditating on is in fact, the Mayan “codex” and “calendar” (are these really the right terms for such expansive frames, epistemically?)…towards the next iteration of the los archivos del cuerpo project…

excerpt from The Coming Insurrection

I’ve just returned from a visit to New York and will be traveling in a few days to Paris for a three day symposium on feminist, queer, and postcolonial subjectivities in contemporary art. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be in conversation with a group of wonderful artists and scholars, and I’ll be screening a single channel iteration of “losarchivosdelcuerpo [BODYFILES]” produced in collaboration with RMO (Robert M Ochshorn) – and featuring work by Pierre Archambault, Raul Ferrera-Balanquet, Brittany Chavez, Teresa Maria Diaz Nerio, Lindsay Benedict, Benvenuto Chavajay, Fabiano Kueva, tammy ko Robinson, Isaac Carrillo, Pedro Pablo Gomez Moreno, and many others – and giving a talk entitled “Where do I begin? A constellation, a decolonial story.” This work continues the decolonial feminist thinking and doing that I’ve been engaged in most recently – thinking through temporality and narrativity with a trans-modern (after Enrique Dussel) perspective. If we understand other cosmologies as contexts for our stories, emerging from indigenous and decolonial perspectives, what are the temporalities of these stories, how do they unfold in time? My sense is that there are timelines being constructed in the work of artists globally that insist on other temporalities – of where stories begin and end, and where we begin and end – and this talk will reflect on how one might, as an artist, rely on this constellation of other temporalities as an opportunity to rethink how one begins a story. I’m still writing the talk – I’ll post it when it’s done!

subjectivites feministes

subjectivites feministes

The Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects: Conversation on Gender & Precarity March 8 4 p.m. EST

I’ve been working over the past year to co-create a new transnational feminist online journal of art and writing with a collective of amazing people, including Alanna Lockward, Annie Fukushima, Litia Perta, Choralyne Dumesnil, Michelle Dizon, tammy ko Robinson, Laura Fantone and Damali Abrams.

We’ll be launching the first three-month long session soon, with a simultaneous indiegogo campaign as a sponsored nonprofit project of Fractured Atlas.

And in the meantime…today at 16:00/4 p.m. EST on the occasion of International Women’s Day, we’ll be doing a conversation on Gender and Precarity…reading works by Sylvia Federici and collective member Laura Fantone.

Join us for a google hangout – listen in or jump into the conversation.

losarchivosdelcuerpo[bodyfiles] at huret & spector gallery

All of last week I worked on the installation of my project losarchivosdelcuerpo at Huret & Spector Gallery at Emerson College. It is the most expanded exhibition of the project to date, which was first exhibited at Arte Nuevo Interactiva in 2013. This exhibition was made possible at Emerson because of a student-run event, The New England Graduate Media Symposium, which happened all day on Friday and featured some really terrific film and videomakers in conversation. The gallery is designed for media, so the collected works, including video, film transferred to video, photographs, documents on overhead projectors, are resonating with each in completely unexpected and altogether transformative and evocative ways. The project is a collective work that began with a tumblr site alongside my active process of inviting and collecting work by artists and writers – whether self-identified as that or not – who are interesting in thinking alongside the questions the projects poses about the archives of the body – what our bodies might know that is not yet codified and articulated, and whether this knowledge constitutes spaces of possibility for imagining future freedoms and collectivities. The exhibition itself, in this space, walks the line somewhere between an archive, research space, and art exhibition. I’m super interested in understanding how viewers-activators-readers engage with the space and what questions you have – let me know!  As part of the project, I did a workshop with students from Emerson last Thursday, and led them in a reflection on various ways of thinking about our body knowledge. This workshop, was in turn, a version of a workshop that I did at the andandand space at Documenta 13. How is your body gendered? To what race does it belong? If your body could speak without words, what would it say? These and many other questions produce a sense of critique of the codes that we normatively use to understand or identify our bodies, and even nudging them slightly produces lots of conversation. In this instance, the reflection motivated several of the students to produce a performative projection piece that they shared in the exhibition space on Friday night. They wrote together a series of reflections and narratives about silence and the coerciveness of space on black leader. Then projected this black leader as a collectively held loop. Audience members could approach the leader and read its contents; the projection itself was black. The idea of the silence that could speak; the lack of light that illuminated; the collective construction of a filmic text; all of this was legible and poignant in their beautiful work. You can see it on Samira Norouz-Nasseri’s instagram feed. I’ll be posting more on the exhibition, as I want to create a more thorough conversation with each one of the pieces than I have yet been able to on the tumblr feed. In the meantime, ginormous shouts out to all of the contributors, and the many, known and unknown, who have posted or reblogged from the tumblr.