Come closer

As you read these lines, you are stepping into a field of interconnection, shared movements, moving positions, entangled spaces, and reciprocal affectations. This is a dynamic field where we can experience ourselves as porous beings always nourished by generative exchanges. “On Contamination” functions as an art-generated, art-held, art-moved membrane that foregrounds the multiplicity of these entanglements. 

“On-Contamination” exists as a year-long art project grounded on the work of Brazilian artist Ricardo Basbaum and his art residency with the University of Illinois. For over thirty years, Basbaum has studied the multiple ways in which art, language, and subjectivity intersect, construct, and modify each other. Through a rigorous exploration of participation in art and in politics, and a critical analysis of contemporary art as field and practice, Basbaum’s work introduces sensorial-conceptual (post)participatory propositions that focus on the transformation of art and its actors, while questioning and expanding the idea of art’s closed circuits. Basbaum’s work, and this space of “Contamination” are an invitation to engage in transformational relationships with creative practices and with each other.

The project is coordinated by MovEncounters, a collaboration between Catalina Hernandez (Art Education Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois) and Natalia Espinel (Colombian artist and educator, Faculty at the School of Visual arts, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana). In our collaborative research on the embodied, necessary and creative dimensions of interdependence, we encountered Basbuam’s provocative propositions. His diagrams, games, propositions, and theorizations became a fertile ground to plant some of our questions. 

While originally conceived as an in-person residency, paradoxically, the COVID pandemic transformed “On Contamination” into this more flexible art-generated space. It is composed of virtual projects for the spring, and a shorter in-person visit in the fall of 2021. 

Participate in this space of generative and creative contamination. Contribute to fabricating this art membrane. 

As you read these lines, you may realize that you were already here, embedded on generative contamination, a long time ago.


Meet Ricardo Basbaum

São Paulo, 1961.  Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. PhD Arts.

Artist, writer and teacher, Ricardo Basbaum investigates art as an intermediary device and a platform for the integration of sensorial experiences, sociability and language. Since the late 1980s, he has created a specific vocabulary to his work, applying it in a particular way for every new project. This vocabulary often manifests itself as drawings, installations, videos and urban interventions. Basbaum is the author of an installation that belongs to the Tate Modern Collection in London and took part of exhibitions inside important institutions, such as: Documenta XII in Kassel, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, the São Paulo’s Biennial, the Secession in Vienna, among others. He also was a resident artist at the Audain Gallery in Vancouver and has held individual projects at the Galician Center for Contemporary Art (Santiago de Compostela) and at The Showroom (London). 

His “Diagram” production (a modality site-specific intervention that sets together words, drawings and instructions) was grouped in the book ‘Diagrams, 1994 – in progress’ (Errant Bodies Press, 2016). Basbaum is also the author of ‘Artist’s Manual-etc’ (Azougue, 2013), ‘Ear of body, ear of group’ (UNC, 2010) and ‘Beyond visual purity’ (Zouk, 2007). Professor of the Philosophy Department of the Fluminense Federal University, he also worked at the Institute of Arts of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (1998-2016) and as a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago (2013).

If you missed it…


What’s coming up!


Participation Eduardo Valina, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2013
Photo courtesy participant

collective-conversation (intervalo-escola), 2016

Live reading and studio recording with Bárbara Lopes, Bruno Alves de Almeida, Cláudio Bueno, Fábio Tremonte, Haroldo Saboia, Júlia Milward, Kadija de Paula, Noara Quintana, Paz Ponce Pérez-Bustamante, Ricardo Basbaum, Suelen Pessoa, Tainá Azeredo, Valdinaldo Martins da Silva. Performed at Casa Tomada, São Paulo, Brazil
Photo courtesy Casa Tomada

diagram (me-you series), 2000

Private collection

me-you: choreographies, games and exercises, 2000

shirts, silkscreen, performative actions, group dynamics, videoWith A. C. Machado, Cyntia Silveira, Elaine Pinheiro, Gilmara Marques, Marina Kosovski, Mário Arreguy, Mércia Faraildes, Patrícia Domingues, Ricardo Basbaum, Ricardo Lemos, Silvia Amélia. Performed at 32o Festival de Inverno da UFMG em Diamantina, Brazil
Photo courtesy from Festival de Inverno de UFMG



Participation Armando Coelho and Orlando Lemos, Goiânia, Brazil, 1999
Photo courtesy participant


Participation Anabela Santos, São Paulo, Brazil, 2000
Photo courtesy participant


Participation Lanchonete, Lanchonete, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2018
Photo courtesy participant


Participation Cognate Collective, Tijuana, Mexico, 2015
Photo courtesy participant


collective conversation (re-projecting london), 2013

Live reading and recording with Daniela Mattos, Emily Pethick, Hannah Clayden, Henrietta Hale, Ismail Ali, Jareh Das, Louise Shelley, Massimiliano Mollona (Mao), Ricardo Basbaum, Tom Tlalim. Performed at The Showroom, London, UK
Photo Daniela Mattos

membranosa (Hamburg): collective conversation, 2015

Live reading and studio recording with Anna Hentschel, Ulrike Lu Krahnert,Charlotte Norwood, Martina Palm, Chris R. Phiphak, Gabriella Rioux, Nanna Wibholm, Ricardo Basbaum. Performed at Stadtkuratorin Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Photo Frank Egel / Giannis Rouvas

collective conversation (speech, sound, text), 2012

Live reading and recording with Pedro Esquerra, Anderson Vital, Gustavo Torrezan,Mirian Steinberg, Rafael Amambahy, Dalila D’Cruz, Reuben da Cunha Rocha, Laura Uchôa, Tamara e Costa, Thiago Roberto, Artur Kirchenchtejn, Brandon LaBelle, Yiftah Peled, Alexandre Fenerich, Raquel Stolf, Ricardo Basbaum. Performed at 30a Bienal de SP, São Paulo, Brazil
Photo courtesy Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

collective-conversation (the production of the artist), 2014

Live reading and recording with Adriana Lademann, Anchi Lin, Jasmine Huang, Kevin Jinn, Jasmine Kwong, Chris Ling, Stephanie Ng, Wan Hang Tsang, Daniela Molinari, Susan Bernal, Shannon McAllister, Abbey Hopkins, Irina Giri, Caroline Engelstad, Curtis Grahauer, Cydney Paddon, Lucien Durey, Margaux Cheung, Neo Tang, Arthur Lin, Deborah Edmeades, Ricardo Basbaum, Sabine Bitter. Performed at Audain Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
Photo Blaine Campbell


diagram [la société du spectacle (& NBP)], 2007

Fundación ARCO Collection, Spain

diagram (formas de pensar), 2004

Private collection

diagram (FORA), 2020

utdoor at public space Cuiabá, Brazil
Photo courtesy VIVA Projects

diagram (Local / Global), 1996

Private collection


me-you: choreographies, games and exercises, 2008

shirts, silkscreen, performative actions, group dynamics Performed at “Imaginary Action”, Lisson Gallery, London Photos courtesy Lisson Gallery

me-you: choreographies, games and exercises, 2008

shirts, silkscreen, performative actions, group dynamics, videoWith Jin Zhiyuan, Ding Wubin, Yuan Chunyang, Gu Yan, Piao Guihua, Xu Hong,Wu Rongrong, Zhang Sanglu, Hu Yuanbin, Chen Cunwang, Mo Liya, Lai Hongyu, Yao Yue, Dong Liang, Ricardo Basbaum. Performed at the 7th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
Photo courtesy Shanghai Biennale

me-you: choreographies, games and exercises, 2000

shirts, silkscreen, performative actions, group dynamics, videoWith A. C. Machado, Cyntia Silveira, Elaine Pinheiro, Gilmara Marques, Marina Kosovski, Mário Arreguy, Mércia Faraildes, Patrícia Domingues, Ricardo Basbaum, Ricardo Lemos, Silvia Amélia. Performed at 32o Festival de Inverno da UFMG em Diamantina, Brazil. Still from video

me-you: choreographies, games and exercises, 2009

performative actions, group dynamics Performed at New York City, US
Photo courtesy Ludlow 38


ActivityDatesNeeds Registration
Inaugural LectureThursday, March 11th, 4PM, CSTCLOSED
Collective ConversationsThursdays and Fridays,
April 15 & 16, 22 & 23, 29 &30
4:30 PM to 7:30 PM, CST

How to get involved?

Inaugural lecture! 

“What is a collective body?”; How are “contact, contamination, memory and repetition” part of contemporary art? In this talk, Ricardo Basbaum will address these central questions to his practice, and his over 30 year-long work in developing collaborative projects.

Be an NBP host!

For people living in Champaign-Urbana area

Host the “New Basis of Personality” Object (NBP) for a month, and decide what “an artistic experience” is for you by interacting with the NBP Object following your own creative sensibilities. Nothing is off-limits. The NBP is an ongoing project of Brazilian artist Ricardo Basbaum which started 26 years ago and now is visiting our community through Basbaum’s 2021 art residency at UIUC: “On Contamination: An Extended Space for Sustaining Encounters Through Art.”

Collective Conversations

This is a proposition which functions as a collaborative statement of multiple local voices. Register for the performative reading of the Collective Conversations!


MovEncounters is our way to exist as a long-term improvisational duet, experimenting with different sensitivities, proximity, multiple approaches of thinking, and making. In our duet, we have focused on the richness of meeting each other,

and understand encounters as a creative practice.

We believe that it is in encounters, where our vision of the world comes alive, becomes actions, and constructs spaces.

Catalina Hernandez-Cabal

Catalina Hernandez-Cabal

Colombian-American artist, movement researcher and educator. Her work focuses on embodied and interdisciplinary creative explorations of difference, and their connection to learning and political action

Natalia Espinel

Natalia Espinel

Colombian artist and educator, who works at the intersection of visual arts, performance, somatic practices and movement improvisation. Her projects unfold from shared forces of resistance and resilience by creating encounter zones that allow the experimentation of a collective body.


Jorge Lucero

Artist Jorge Lucero is an Associate Professor of Art Education in the School of Art + Design and Art Education Program Chair. As part of his lifelong work to test the material and conceptual pliability of “school” Lucero participates in and around the academy in every manner possible. He has exhibited, performed, published, presented on, served as editor and reviewer, and taught through his work in galleries, schools and school districts, books, journals, conferences, workshops, museums, community organizations, performances, advisory boards, and artist residencies. Lucero is the editor of the compendium Mere and Easy: Collage as a Critical Practice in Pedagogy (2016, U of I Press) and has served as co-editor of the scholarly journal Visual Arts Research since 2015.

Sebastian Gonzalez Dixon

Sebastian is a Colombian electronic engineer, interactive media artist and music producer. By mixing art and technology, Sebastian has developed artificial intelligence systems to translate body movements into algorithmic sounds and visuals. Since 2006, Sebastian has developed immersive environments, technologies for performing arts, and electronic musical instruments. Sebastian music production is available at at or on the main streaming platforms, all the info and portfolio on the website

Thank you to our sponsors, donors and collaborators:

School of Art + Design Visitors Committee
George A. Miller Visiting Artists Residency, Center for Advanced Study
The Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art Fund
Humanities Research Institute (HRI)
Center for Global Studies
Dance Department
Conceptual Art & Teaching
Lemann Center for Brazilian Studies


By registering you’ll be included in the mailing list of On-Contamination. Through your email we’ll be sending to you the specific links of forms of each activity. Also you’ll be informed of updates, changes and new events.

Contact us at