The “Natural” Is a Sham: The Baroque and Its Contemporary Avatars

  • Mattijs van de Port University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam


This article discusses three aesthetics which go against the understanding of “the natural” as the default setting of life and being: baroque, punk and camp celebrate the artificiality and made-upness of man-made worlds. Reflecting on autobiographical encounters with these styles, and using a Lacanian frame of analysis, the author discusses what makes these styles appealing to some and horrific to others, and what they effectuate in the lives of their aficionados.

Author Biography

Mattijs van de Port, University of Amsterdam and VU Amsterdam
Mattijs van de Port is an anthropologist and does research in Bahia, Brazil. He works both at the University of Amsterdam, and the VU University Amsterdam. In the latter institution he holds the chair of “popular religiosity.” His latest book is Ecstatic Encounters. Bahian Candomblé and the Quest for the Really Real (Amsterdam University Press, 2011).
How to Cite
Guest Articles