Photos and text from: Maria Thereza Alves, Recipes for Survival artist book, 1983/2018, University of Texas Press © Maria Thereza Alves

Lecture : 6 June 2019 16:00 – 19:00

Michael Taussig on “Recipes for Survival” + Public conversation at Melahuset in Oslo

Venue: Melahuset, Mariboes Gate 8, 0183, Oslo
Michael Taussig, Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, New York, will speak about Maria Thereza Alves’ recent book, Recipes for Survival (University of Texas Press, 2019), for which he wrote the introduction. The book is a newly published collection of texts and photos that Maria Thereza Alves produced in 1983, when she went back to the towns where her parents grew up in Brazil. Following the lecture, writer and theatre producer Deise Faria Nunes (BR/NO), community mobiliser and activist Larissa Avelar (BR/NO), and artist Ina Hagen (NO), will use Alves’ book as a starting point for discussions about current political and ecological challenges in Brazil, the dynamics of Norwegian and Brazilian relations, as well as the roles artists are taking within these discussions today.

The event is free and open to the public. Drinks and refreshments will be served.

This event is organised in partnership with Melahuset and the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo.


Professor Michael Taussig is one of the most innovative, distinguished, and socially engaged voices in cultural anthropology. An interdisciplinary thinker and engaging writer, Taussig’s work combines aspects of ethnography, story-telling, and social theory.

Strongly influenced by both the Frankfurt School of critical theory and French post-structuralism, Taussig was a part of the shift during the 1980s within the field of anthropology. His work contributed to an increasing mistrust of cultural analyses from the perspective of the dominant culture, i.e. Western capitalist culture. It was his early experiences as a doctor in Colombia in the late 1960s that influenced a fundamental change in his conception of the role of stories and narratives—over and against objective scholarship—in cultural formation. Ethnography became a conscious positive force in culture, as no account was intrinsically innocent or objective any longer. This led Michael Taussig to begin intermixing fact and fiction in his ethnographic studies, thus his status as a controversial figure in the field of anthropology.

Michael Taussig is the author of the following books: Palma Africana (2018), The Corn Wolf (2015), Beauty and the Beast (2012), What Color is the Sacred? (2009), Walter Benjamin’s Grave (2006), My Cocaine Museum (2004), Law in a Lawless Land: Diary of a Limpieza in a Colombian Town (2003), Defacement (1999), Magic of the State (1997), Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses (1993), The Nervous System (1992), Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing (1987), and The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America (1980).

Ina Hagen is an artist and writer living and working in Oslo. In constructing performative situations and platforms, Hagen merges situated histories, collaborative and participatory acts in situations that create instances of collective, critical reflection. She holds a BFA from the National Academy of Art, Oslo (2014), is the acting chair of the Norwegian political membership organisation and contemporary art institution, UKS (Young Artist’s Society), and a contributor to the Scandinavian online art journal Hagen is the co-founder of the discursive platform and exhibition space Louise Dany, that she’s been running together with artist Daisuke Kosugi from their home, since 2016. Her work is included in the 10th Momentum Biennale, ‘The Emotional Exhibition’, Moss, NO; Index Summer Festival, The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm, SE; and she will be a guest tutor in Hordaland Kunstsenter’s first Summer Academy in August 2019. Exhibitions include INCA, Seattle, US (Solo); Kunsthall Charlottenborg, Copenhagen DK; Coast Contemporary, NO; Podium, Oslo NO, among others. Residencies include: IASPIS Stockholm, SWE (Upcoming 2019-2020); BAR Project, Barcelona, ES (2017); Quartier 21, Museums Quartier, Vienna, AU (2014), among others. In 2018, she was a resident of Capacete, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, through OCA’s international residency program.

Deise Faria Nunes is a researching theatre and performance practitioner interested in cross-field collaborations. Her MA research was a study of the sacred dances performed during the rituals of Afro-Brazilian Candomblé cult and the principles of theatre anthropology. Having a special interest in practical-theoretical investigations on ethnicity and gender within the arts field, Nunes established in 2017 the company Golden Mirrors Arts Norway, focusing on black women in the arts, culture and politics. She is also a writer and translator.

Larissa Avelar is a community mobiliser and activist representing Action group for democracy in Brazil. She is educated a psychologist and a literature specialist, with a master's in English Literature from the University of Oslo. She currently works at the Norwegian PEN Centre (Norsk PEN) and at the Norwegian Writers' Center (Norsk Forfattersentrum).