Amerasian Symphony

Dec 26

“Lothar Baumgarten’s works from the late Sixties are amongst the first systematic artistic reflections on ethnographic and museum praxis. In 1968—alongside a whole series of simultaneous works such as “Feather People (The Americans)”, “Ethnography, Self and Other” or “Amazonas Kosmos (Grünkohl)” that are concerned with the self in the productions of Otherness—Baumgarten began a two-year photographic analysis of display systems in ethnographic museums. Baumgarten was still studying under Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf when he began with these works. As is well-known Beuys had adapted the shamans’ prophetic and therapeutic role for his social and rationality-critical art. It is, so to speak, out of this blind spot of Beuysian late primitivism that Baumgarten begins his ideology-critical cartography of travel in the historical and political context of discourses and practices of the description, collection and conquest of foreign cultures. Here a distinct shift from the modernist desire for difference towards a critical archaeology of forms of representing the Other is discernible.” — http://eipcp.net/transversal/0708/kravagna/en

Nov 02

Martin Heidegger and Environmental Ethics -

"The destining of revealing is in itself not just any danger, but danger as such. Yet when destining reigns in the mode of Enframing, it is the supreme danger. This danger attests itself to us in two ways. As soon as what is unconcealed no longer concerns man even as object, but does so, rather, exclusively as standing-reserve, and man in the midst of objectlessness is nothing but the orderer of standing-reserve, then he comes to the very brink of a precipitous fall; that is, he comes to the point where he himself will have to be taken as standing-reserve."

Sep 16

Indians of Another Colour, Or why Goans are More than Just Portuguese: Hartman de Souza | Kafila -

"What I find troubling with postcolonial discourse personally, is the apparent negation of spatial and temporal belongings. In the effort to counter British racism, what one ends up doing is propose a version of global citizenship that denies any local belongings whatsoever. I do not have a theory of how to justify that “localism” yet – but somewhere there needs to be a check to the notion of a boundary-less being that is proposed by postcolonial theory – because only the privileged are privy to that kind of mobility. Are the unprivileged then left out of the ambit of postcolonial global citizenship? In its effort to deny nationalist parochialisms, postcolonial discourse ends up conforming to the notion of globalization they themselves claim to oppose."

Aug 17

Decolonization of the Mind | Kafila -

"As the new independent nation-state got down to the business of nation-building and began setting up its universities, it dropped even the basic attempts to think through the problems of the hegemony of western knowledge that many intellectuals had been struggling against in the period of the anti-colonial struggle."

Aug 16

American Roots of the Indian Independence Movement - NYTimes.com -

"The story of the Gadar Party is the story of a new immigrant population advocating for their own political enfranchisement, both through their support for decolonization around the world as well as through their fight for civil rights in their new home country.”

Jun 25

“If you have any sense of responsibility at all, stay with your riots here at home. Work for the coming elections: You will know what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how to communicate with those to whom you speak. And you will know when you fail. If you insist on working with the poor, if this is your vocation, then at least work among the poor who can tell you to go to hell. It is incredibly unfair for you to impose yourselves on a village where you are so linguistically deaf and dumb that you don’t even understand what you are doing, or what people think of you. And it is profoundly damaging to yourselves when you define something that you want to do as ‘good,’ a ‘sacrifice’ and ‘help.’” — http://www.swaraj.org/illich_hell.htm

Mar 28

Living in the Shadows : Navigating Austria's Evolving Asylum Policy -

An article by Damaso Reyes, photojournalist and artist, on asylum seekers in Austria from 2010.

A Refugee Protest Camp in Vienna And the European Union’s Processes of Racialization, Seclusion, and Discrimination -

A very thought-provoking piece. Good to read accompanied by the next post.

Feb 23

Art and the Cultural Turn: Farewell to Committed, Autonomous Art? -

"It becomes clear that the state of contemporary art is quite different from what gave rise to institutional critique in the 1970s, which was focused on examining the subjection of art to ideological interests. Unlike forty years ago, institutions today are more opaque, more exclusive, and they share objectives intrinsically linked to corporate, neoliberal agendas (to the point that those agendas have become invisible). Cultural institutions are the administrative organs of the dominant order, and cultural producers actively contribute to the transmission of free market ideology across all aspects of our lives."

Against Holism: The Argument from Entropy -

"This allows us to give a precise definition of power:  power is the mechanisms by which a society reduces entropy.  Order never comes for free, but always requires operations, energy, and work precisely because it’s more probable for anything to be related to anything else, than for anything to maintain improbable and selective relations to a delimited range of elements in the order of being.  “Onto-cartography” would be the investigation of the mechanisms by which improbable orders are maintained; and would therefore include investigations of discursive mechanisms (not surprisingly, the favorite of the humanities), chronopolotical mechanisms, geographical mechanisms (geopolitics), and thermopolitical mechanisms.  Whenever encountering an order in the social and political world we should be surprised and ask ourselves how it maintains itself.  In understanding how it maintains itself, we can begin to devise strategies undermine it where those negentropic mechanisms are oppressive.”