Javier Guerrero’s research focuses on the intersection between visual culture and sexuality in twentieth- and twenty-first century Latin America. His scholarship places special importance on the body as the site of the enactment and re-enactment of disputes regarding its materiality. He explores the unexpected ways that the body participates in its own material processes, at times transforming itself, as it deploys novel technologies that destabilize the symbolic sphere of sex.
Guerrero is the author of Tecnologías del cuerpo. Exhibicionismo y visualidad en América Latina (Iberoamericana/Vervuert, 2014) and coeditor of Excesos de cuerpo: relatos de contagio y enfermedad en América Latina (Eterna Cadencia 2009, reprinted in 2012) and the two-volume dossier Cuerpos enfermos/Contagios culturales (Estudios 2010, 2011). His work also includes a book on the Venezuelan filmmaker Mauricio Walerstein (FCN, 2002) and the novel Balnearios de Etiopia (Eterna Cadencia, 2010).
Guerrero’s book Tecnologías del cuerpo. Exhibicionismo y visualidad en América Latina consists of five chapters focused on Reinaldo Arenas, Salvador Novo, Armando Reverón, Fernando Vallejo, and Mario Bellatin. Each chapter explores the ways that the materiality of the body passes through the visual and fictional registers to model itself and be modeled in a process that is always incomplete, unstable, and vulnerable to disruption. This somatic dimension can be staged in literature, the visual arts, photography, and especially the gray zones produced in the confusion of these fictions (the archive, for example). The book proposes that exhibitionism and visuality are indispensable aspects of any exploration of the sexing process of these bodies.
Guerrero’s current projects include an edited volume, Visual Object: Archive, Visualities, and the Politics of Looking, which investigates the materiality that distinguishes the Latin American archive and reevaluates the artifacts contained in various collections—including public, sentimental, literary, and art collections—with the goal of producing new readings and contradicting, disturbing, and re-thinking issues that have already been organized, constituted, and archived. He is also working on two journal dossiers. The first, Vulgaridad Capital. Políticas de lo vulgar y desafíos del ‘buen gusto’ en América Latina (Taller de Letras, 2015), seeks to understand vulgarity as an irruption of working-class sensibilities opposed to intellectualism, and as the incorporation of offensive, counter-cultural, or sexual practices in mass culture, the canon, and other contemporary artistic disciplines. The second journal dossier, Correspondences of Discontent (Iberoamericana, 2016), explores the role and power of personal diaries, correspondence, and open letters, as genres that not only reveal strategic alliances, affects, and private matters, but also disputes, ruptures, and later reconciliations.
Currently, Guerrero is working on a new book, Synthetic Skin: On Dolls and Miniature Cultures. The book proposes to understand dolls in in three different frameworks: first, that of the racialized and gendered Other, or the way that dolls, as cultural fantasies, are marked as gendered and disposable bodies; second, that of the body’s continued denaturalization, the concept of artificial and posthuman lives, and the experimentation with prosthetic anatomies; and third, that of dolls as substitutes, and especially, the possibility of a destitution of subjectivity that this implies. The project explores the production of Latin American visual artists, performers, filmmakers, and writers, looking at the racialized and corporalized fantasies that these dolls inspire.
Javier Guerrero holds a PhD in Latin American Studies from New York University and a licenciatura in Film Studies from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. Before coming to the US, he was President of the Venezuelan Cinemateca Nacional, a position in which he curated over twenty-five international film series and festivals.
He is the Chair of the Section on Venezuelan Studies at LASA.