Dialogical devices and political possibilities of art:

Occupy, inhabit, resist

Sandra Calvo and Ana Vilenica

Published in Issue 6.1 // Conversation Series

Keywords: Dialogical art, art and housing, politics of housing, displacement, migration, architecture


‘Dialogical devices and political possibilities of art: Occupy, inhabit, resist’ is a conversation with Sandra Calvo, an interdisciplinary artist based in Mexico, exploring the intersection of art and struggles for home and territory. Sandra Calvo elucidates her dialogical approach in accompanying communities in struggle, employing dialogical devices that foster conversations and potential spaces for expression and re-signification in conflict scenarios. In this conversation Sandra talks about her work in Colombia and Mexico underlying the importance of listening and dialogue to denounce and confront extractivist and dispossession projects.


Sandra Calvo is a visual artist based in Mexico. She develops long-term participatory projects framed within contexts of social and political tension in the Global South, marked by issues such as gentrification, the politics of housing, migrations, forced displacement, land tenancy, plunder, and unjustified evictions. Through diverse perspectives, methodologies and disciplines –such as anthropology, architecture, sociology, and cinematography- her projects explore and honor strategies of resistance and survival such as self-construction, self-mobilization and auto-production, where popular and ancestral knowledge intersect. Calvo’s aesthetic interventions –resulting in hybrid cinema, collaborative sculptures and expanded documentaries– are performed in collaboration with residents of sites threatened by the situations mentioned above. She holds a MA in Liberal Arts from The New School for Social Research, NY, a BA in Political Science from ITAM, Mexico City. Her work is often featured in biennials, among them: Lisbon Architecture Triennial, 2022; Venice Architecture Biennial, 2021; Havana Biennial, 2021, 2015. She has conducted art production and research residencies, mainly in Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, China and India. She has taught courses and workshops on Art and Politics, Participatory Practices, Cinema and Audiovisual Media, Informal Spaces. Since 2022 she is part of the Team of Instructors at the Soma Art School. In 2017 she became a member of the Mexican National System of Art Creators, FONCA. She has published her book “Arquitectura sin arquitectos” (Arquine, 2022) and Minor Monuments (Casa Vecina, 2010).

Ana Vilenica is a feminist, no border and urban activist and organizer from Serbia currently living in Italy. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the ERC project ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ at the Polytechnic of Turin’s Inter-university Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) and a core member of Beyond Inhabitation Lab. Ana is a member of the Radical Housing Journal Editorial collective and the Feminist Autonomous Centre for research (FAC research).

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