9:30 a.m.– 10:30 a.m., Geballe Room, Center Note Conversations:
Keynote Conversation: Transnational artworlds, social justice, and the “will to globality”
Okwui Enwezor + Laura Pérez + Ramón Grosfoguel
Introduced by Dalida Maria Benfield
For the Out of TimeSpace symposium ritical questions/definitions surrounding issues of art, visual culture, border thinking, and radical intervention, were provided by center conversations between Laura Pérez, Ramón Grosfoguel and Okwui Enwezor.
While every beginning has a beginning, this particular one of the Out of TimeSpace Symposium began with that of the voices of people of color, here more specifically a woman of color scholar: Laura E. Perez. Perez shared with the audience the beginnings of the symposium that began much earlier than 9-11 (and we can even say, even before that in conversations/inspirations that transpired much earlier): the symposium arose out of, the Visuality & Alterity Working Group at UC Berkeley, whose goal was to create connections with other institutions in order to answer the question of: “What does praxis mean?” Concerns for the graduate students in this working group were the politics of the local and global, in order to think about the different locations that bodies occupy, what different powers look like, how is it articulated through different networks, and where are the sites of interventions.
For Perez's work, there are three sites of work. First, Chicana art (1985-2000, a multimedia, relatively recently sophisticated work to understand the aesthetic strategies) – that allows for a thinking of the decolonizing aesthetics or world views that are embedded in this, how does it circulate how is it being read? The second is inspired by Perez’s work as a curatorial team that was conceived two years ago. The team worked on murals in the mission to engage with global conversations, to challenge cultural Darwinism in which the digital becomes opposed to accessible mediums. The third, is the critique of corporate companies and the art world relations that are embodied in the widely traveled shows of Chich Marin. Such a linking is embodied in one of the locations (the
Questions that Perez moved the audience toward include: How do we respond? Can we respond to the types of privatization that are happening to public spaces? Such questions segue to Perez’s last comment and that is on the following: The creation of the museum and other display spaces, have always been tied to the performance of collective identities/performing of a national identities. It’s a very un-innocent process. Community process is made. Who is operating those spaces, how the public museum and other spaces, Connected to the privatization of other public spaces. We need to investigate corporate welfare. She asks: How is it that local museums, you can trace the pressure that museums are getting from govt. cut backs that open the doors of corporations?
Ramon Grosfoguel followed Laura E. Perez in the conversation. His work, a comparative framework, contributed to the conversation through his engagement with the cartography of power. Grosfoguel's methodology is to decolonize a world systems paradigm. Grosfuguel contends that if you look at the traditional social sciences, as much critical they are to they are to the Cartesian thoughts, there is a legacy of Cartesians that we have not overcome. The “politics of knowledge”, “I think so therefore I am”, the “I” is where we produce knowledge. The assumption is that you are supposed to produce a knowledge that is “nowhere” that assumes a neutrality. The “I” is not situated anywhere, not in the body, the dualism between mind and body, mind and somewhere, the mind is somewhere floating that allows the Cartesian of western thought that allows, he calls it an “epistemic racism”. The assumption that western epistemology is superior to the rest. If you look at the canon of social sciences it comes from western thought. What he is questioning is more a complexity of what it implies if we take a seriously the tradition from those other traditions of thoughts. It is the hegemony of thought. If we use this politics of knowledge, we get a very limited and distorted and the world systems, a capitalist world system or a global capitalism. The problems that he has with that definition, if you start the analysis of the present world system and you look at it from
Okui Enwezor then followed Grosfoguel, calling for specificity. Enwezor has three key terms:
1) right at this moment the key question, what he calls the strategies of solidarities
2) techniques of coalition building
3) Building the minor (the aesthetics of the minor)
Okwui conveys that it is not so much to decolonize, but eviscerate the structure.
Such a question is important to how we think about the issues, the kind of works that are fed on the market, that have become a site of excess. He thinks that the resonance of questions surrounding multiculturalism are no longer relevant in the institutions. One has to begin first not with the critique of the museum. Museums may serve public functions but they are private. It is not an open system the museum it gives us the imaginary that appears to be public in spite of its privatization. Multiculturality for Enwezor is what one has to contest, not necessarily deuniversalizing feminist discourse or cultural rhetoric. Enwezor argues that to really to begin to talk about muliticulturality, we have to begin where this multiculturality takes place.
Enwezor asks us to look beyond the public sphere. How do we move beyond that to think critically about civic society in which the Civic society are goal oriented? Enwezor argues that one trajectory for us is to not feed the beast. The minor, does not operate from the domain of the privileged manufactured commodification, a redistribution of works say systems of consumption.
Moving away from the model of the public sphere to the model of the civic society, where the politics of the north and south is a battle of the public sphere that are deeply embedded in the world system (grassroots institutions). This is one way to respond to this tension of the local and the global and how material, aesthetics, so forth move. The instance of civil society play a greater role in developing civil society. These societies are societies in translation. What is valued is the community. How do artists in
Important “take-away” points may be read in the form of more questions/directions for thinking about how time-space of visual culture and intersecting realities interact with each other in both the global and the local:
How we can move beyond western binarisms that are highly polarized in the global north? One way is to invert the western binary.
How can new terms/language allow for a decolonial project? For example, “Interculturality” Latin American concept, interculturality implies equality.
What are the Different ways of defining community, the public sphere versus the civic bodies is useful. Different spaces that people function?
How does public/private provide binaries further inequities, and where are the spaces of possibilities?
And seeing this symposium as a particular beginning within many beginnings, what is art in this context of the Out of TimeSpace symposium?
Where may we build coalitions?