Decolonial aesthetics

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Decolonial Aesthetics, manifesto, 2011.
Jeannette Ehlers, Whip It Good, 2014. Performance. Photo: Casper Maare. First commissioned by Art Labour Archive (Alanna Lockward) and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse in Berlin, 2013. Source. [1]
“Decolonial aestheSis asks why Western aesthetic categories like ‘beauty’ or ‘representation’ have come to dominate all discussion of art and its value, and how those categories organize the way we think of ourselves and others: as white or black, high or low, strong or weak, good or evil. Decolonial art, literature, architecture and other arts enact these critiques [...] to expose the contradictions of coloniality. Its goal, then, is not to produce feelings of beauty or sublimity, but ones of sadness, indignation, repentance, hope, and determination to change things in the future.” (Mignolo, Vázquez, et al., 2013)

Initiatives, research projects[edit]

  • Modernity/Coloniality group [Grupo modernidad/colonialidad], a multidisciplinary and multigenerational network of intellectuals active in Latin America. Includes sociologists Aníbal Quijano, Edgardo Lander, Ramón Grosfoguel and Agustín Lao-Montes, semiologists Walter Mignolo and Zulma Palermo, pedagogue Catherine Walsh, anthropologists Arturo Escobar and Fernando Coronil, literary critic Javier Sanjinés and philosophers Enrique Dussel, Santiago Castro-Gómez, María Lugones and Nelson Maldonado-Torres. It advances a decolonial perspective which starts from the discussion on the power relations installed in the 16th century with the conquest of what we now know as America. This implies a racialization that is at the base of the installation of a capitalist economic system and European modernity. This also allows distinguishing it from Postcolonialism, which has been generally dominated by authors from the old English and French colonies in Asia, Oceania and the Middle East, who argue from a culturalist perspective and begin colonial history 300 years later. See Escobar 2003, Pachón Soto 2008, Wikipedia-ES.
  • Decolonial Summer School Middelburg, since 2010. Organised by the University College Roosevelt (University of Utrecht) in cooperation with the Centre for Global Studies and the Humanities (Duke University).
  • Decolonising Practices, research thread of L'Internationale Online, since 2015. Features commissioned texts, visual essays and conversations on questions of power, resistance and the critical potential of art.
  • Kanon-Fragen / Canon Questions, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2016-2019. A series of research-based exhibitions that grapple critically with the canonization of modernity.
  • Perverse Decolonization, a (self-)critical research project of the Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne, Oct 2017-Nov 2018. Project heads: Ekaterina Degot, David Riff. Curator of artistic commissions: Aneta Rostkowska. Institutional partners: Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw (Poland), Para Site, Hong Kong (China), The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon (Israel), Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago (USA), Tensta Konsthall, Spånga (Sweden), Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (Germany).

Artists, scholars[edit]

Publications[edit]

Palermo Zulma (ed.), Arte y estética en la encrucijada descolonial, 2009.
  • Palermo Zulma (ed.), Arte y estética en la encrucijada descolonial, pref. Walter Mignolo, Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2009, 112 pp; 2nd ed., 2014, 76 pp. Publisher. (Spanish)
Marina Gržinić (ed.), Pavilion 14: "Biopolitics, Necropolitics and De-Coloniality", 2010.
  • Walter D. Mignolo, "Aiesthesis decolonial", Calle14 4(4): "Arte y cultura", ed. Pablo Pedro Gómez, Bogotá, Mar 2010, pp 10-25, PDF; repr. in Arte y estética en la encrucijada descolonial II, ed. Pedro Pablo Gómez, Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2014; repr. in Mignolo, Habitar la frontera: sentir y pensar la descolonialidad (Antología, 1999-2014), Barcelona: CIDOB, and Chihuahua: UACJ, 2015, pp 399-413. (Spanish)
  • Walter Mignolo, "Decolonial Aesthetics: Unlearning and Relearning the Museum Through Pedro Lasch's Black Mirror/Espejo Negro" / "Estética descolonial: desaprendiendo y reaprendiendo el museo a través del Black Mirror/Espejo Negro de Pedro Lasch", in Black Mirror/Expejo Negro, ed. Pedro Lasch, John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute/Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Aug 2010, pp 86-103. Catalogue text. (English)
    • "Dekoloniale Ästhetik: das Museum verlernen und wiedererlernen durch Pedro Laschs Black Mirror/Espejo Negro", in Kunst, Krise, Subversion: zur Politik der Ästhetik, eds. Nina Bandi, Michael G. Kraft and Sebastian Lasinger, Bielefeld: transcript, 2012, pp 129-147. (German)
Pedro Pablo Gómez (ed.), Calle14 4(5): "Arte y decolonialidad", 2010.
Pedro Pablo Gómez (ed.), Calle14 5(6): "Arte y decolonialidad (2da parte)", 2011.
  • Guillermo Villamizar, "Debate Altermodernidad decolonialidad", part 2, esferapública, Bogotá, 30 Jul 2011 & 4 Feb 2012. Contribution to the debate on altermodernity and decolonial aesthetics in Colombia, sparked by the visit of Nicolas Bourriaud to Bogotá in 2010 (whose book Radicant appeared in Spanish in 2009) and an exhibition organised by Pedro Pablo Gómez (doctoral student in Catherine Walsh's seminar in Latin American Cultural Studies at the Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito), Walter Mignolo, a.o. that same year, advancing two antagonistic positions. See also further discussion in esferapública and Mignolo 2015 for more context. (Spanish)
  • Daniel J. Sherman, French Primitivism and The Ends of Empire, 1945-1975, University of Chicago Press, Nov 2011, 312 pp. “Primitivism” as a tool for analysis of post-war French society, between a modernization and decolonization movement, and possible forms of resistance. Publisher. (English)
    • Le primitivisme en France et les fins d'empire (1945-1975), pref. Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, trans. Sylvie Muller, Dijon: Les presses du réel, Sep 2018, 344 pp. Preface. Publisher. (French)
Alanna Lockward, Walter Mignolo (eds.), BE.BOP 2012. Black Europe Body Politics, 2012.
Walter Mignolo, Pedro Pablo Gómez (eds.), Estéticas y opción decolonial, 2012.
  • Walter Mignolo, Pedro Pablo Gómez (eds.), Estéticas y opción decolonial, Bogotá: Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Aug 2012, 303 pp. Publisher. (Spanish)
    • Walter Mignolo, "Lo nuevo y lo decolonial".
    • Madina Tlostanova, "La aesthesis trans-moderna en la zona fronteriza euroasiática y el anti-sublime colonial".
    • Dalida María Benfeld, "Ruta del canal de Panamá".
    • Tanja Ostojic, "Cruzando fronteras".
    • Marina Grzinic, "(Estéticas) decoloniales como/en/a la frontera".
    • José Alejandro Restrepo, "Las islas de la utopía".
    • Alex Schlenker, "Imagen, memoria, modernidad: perspectivas-otrasʺ para el abordaje de la representación visual".
    • Pedro Pablo Gómez, "Los tropiezos de las estatuas, las estatuascomo tropiezos".
    • Javier Reynaldo Romero Flores, "Sensibilidades vitales: fiesta, color, movimiento y vida en el espacio festivo de Oruro-Bolivia".
    • "Pensadores de tierra y agua: el arte de tejer la vida y contar historias / Benjamín Jacanamijoy Tisoy".
    • Edgar Ricardo Lambuley Alférez with Grupo de Canciones Populares, Nueva Cultura, "Sonoridades otras: músicas de resistencia".
    • Adolfo Albán Achinte, "Estéticas de la re-existencia: ¿lo político del arte?".
Alanna Lockward, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu (eds.), IDEA 42: "Black Europe Body Politics", 2012.
Walter Mignolo, Rolando Vázquez (eds.), "Decolonial AestheSis", 2013.
  • FUSE 36(4): "Decolonial Aesthetics", ed. Gina Badger, Fall 2013. Produced in collaboration with the e-fagia organization based in Toronto as a reader for the Decolonial Aesthetics symposium, scheduled for 10-12 Oct 2013. (English)
    • Berlin Reed, "A New Ñame: An Exploration of Decolonial African American Food Culture and Cuisine", pp 4-5.
    • Miguel Rojas-Sotelo, "Indigenous Guard(s): Decolonial Performance, Re-Existence, Cultures of Survival", pp 5-6.
    • Gordon Brent Ingram, "Repopulating Contentious Territory: Recent Strategies for Indigenous Northwest Coast Site-Based and Public Art", pp 7-8.
    • Heidi McKenzie, "Denyse Thomasos", pp 8-9.
    • Modernity-Coloniality Working Group of the Transnational Decolonial Institute, "Decolonial Aesthetics Manifesto", p 10.
    • David Garneau, "Extra-Rational Aesthetic Action and Cultural Decolonization", pp 14-21.
    • Kency Cornejo, "Indigeneity and Decolonial Seeing in Contemporary Art of Guatemala", pp 24-31.
    • Leah Decter and Carla Taunton, "Addressing the Settler Problem: Strategies of Settler Responsibility and Decolonization", pp 32-39.
    • "In Memoriam: Arlan Londoño (1962-2013)", pp 52-53.
  • Editorial Group for Writing Insurgent Genealogies (Carolina Agredo, Sheri Avraham, Annalisa Cannito, Miltiadis Gerothanasis, Marina Gržinić, Marissa Lôbo, Ivana Marjanović) (ed.), Utopia of Alliances, Conditions of Impossibilities and the Vocabulary of Decoloniality, Vienna: Löcker, Oct 2013, 362 pp. A project initiated by the alumni and students of the Post-Conceptual Art Practices class at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, PhD candidate Ivana Marjanović and Prof. Marina Gržinić within the context of the project of theory and arts: “Seminar Decolonizing Knowledge and Life through Theory and Art” that has been organized in the class for Post Conceptual Art Practices class, AKBild, since 2009 by Ivana Marjanović. Contributors: AG Migration und Antirassismus, Carolina Ágredo, Jamika Ajalon, Aleksandra Aleksić, Tania Araujo, Teht Ashmani, Jin Haritaworn and Misster Raju Rage, Sheri Avraham, Sarah Binder, Imayna Caceres, Luzenir Caixeta, Annalisa Cannito, Eyal Danon, The Darker Side of the Academy, Petja Dimitrova, Lina Dokuzović, Vulcanita Erupziono, Coco Fusco, María Galindo, Christian Gangl, Miltiadis Gerothanasis, Marina Gržinić, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, du von jetzt-Muzaffer Hasaltay, Peter Haselmayer, Ana Hoffner, Festus Ikeotuonye, Njideka Stephanie Iroh, Araba Evelyn Johnston-Arthur, Tímea Junghaus, Ivan Jurica, Tatiana Kai-Browne, Kanak Attak, Belinda Kazeem, Grada Kilomba, Christoph Kolar, Kollektiv Recht auf Raum, Elisabeth Lnenicka, Marissa Lôbo, Renate Lorenz, maiz – Autonomes Zentrum von & für Migrantinnen, Sylvia Marcos, Ivana Marjanović, Verena Melgarejo Weinandt, Sophia Mídian Bagues, Movimento Sem Terra (MST), Mujeres Creando, Georg Oberlechner, Okenna Okafor, Plattform Geschichtspolitik, Beatriz Preciado, Jovita Pristovšek, The Research Group for Black Austrian History and Presence, Rubia Salgado, Sans-Papiers, Alessandra dos Santos Silva, Tomash Schoiswohl, Jude Sentongo Kafeero, Stephen Small, Aneta Stojnić, Madina Tlostanova, Reinhard Uttenthaler, Regina Wuzella. Publisher. (English)
  • Hannah Feldman, From a Nation Torn: Decolonizing Art and Representation in France, 1945-1962, Durham: Duke University Press, Feb 2014, 336 pp. Publisher. (English)
  • Walter Mignolo, Francisco Carballo, "Estéticas descoloniales", in Mignolo, Carballo, Una concepción descolonial del mundo: conversaciones de Francisco Carballo y Walter Mignolo, Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2014, pp 132-150; repr. in Mignolo, Habitar la frontera: sentir y pensar la descolonialidad (Antología, 1999-2014), Barcelona: CIDOB, and Chihuahua: UACJ, 2015, pp 433-453. Conversation. (Spanish)
Pedro Pablo Gomez (ed.), Arte y estética en la encrucijada descolonial II, 2014.
  • Pedro Pablo Gómez (ed.), Arte y estética en la encrucijada descolonial II, Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2014, 126 pp. Publisher. (Spanish)
    • Pedro Pablo Gómez, "Introducción: trayectorias de la opción estética decolonial".
    • Walter Mignolo, "Aiesthesis decolonial".
    • Adolfo Albán Achinte, "Comida y colonialidad: tensiones entre el proyecto hegemónico moderno y las memorias del paladar".
    • Madina Tlostanova, "La aesthesis trans-moderna en la zona fronteriza eurasiática y el anti-sublime decolonial / --
    • Pedro Pablo Gómez, "Bioestética: estéticas e invenciones de la naturaleza".
  • Lynda E. Avendaño Santana, "Decolonisation: Women and the Politics of Authenticity, Between Sirens, Witches and Human Zoos...: Subverting the Labyrinth of Solitude and Bringing serenity and Humour Black and exhilarating From Santiago Chile to Long Island", in Critical Cartography of Art and Visuality in the Global Age, eds. Anna Guasch Ferrer and Nasheli Jimenez Del Val, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars, Aug 2014, pp 195-214. [17] (English)
  • Walter D. Mignolo, "Anecdotario V (Estéticas descoloniales)", in Mignolo, Habitar la frontera: sentir y pensar la descolonialidad (Antología, 1999-2014), Barcelona: CIDOB, and Chihuahua: UACJ, Mar 2015, pp 397-398. Introduction to the section on decolonial aesthesis in Mignolo's selected writings. (Spanish)
  • Pedro Pablo Gómez Moreno, Estéticas fronterizas: diferencia colonial y opción estética decolonial, pref. Wálter D. Mignolo, Bogotá: Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, and Quito: Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar/Sede Ecuador, Nov 2015, 346 pp. Based on the author's thesis (doctoral--Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Sede Ecuador, 2014) presented under the title Estéticas de frontera en el contexto colombiano. Publisher. [23] (Spanish)
  • L'Internationale (ed.), Decolonising Museums, L'Internationale Online, 2015, 152 pp. Draws from the conference Decolonising the Museum which took place at MACBA in Barcelona, 27-29 Nov 2014. (English)
  • Benedikts Kalnačs, 20th Century Baltic Drama: Postcolonial Narratives, Decolonial Options, Bielefeld: Aisthesis, Jan 2016, 235 pp. Excerpt. Publisher. Reviews: Tlostanova (Baltic Worlds), Gáfrik (World Lit Stud), Paris-Popa (U Bucharest Rev). [24] (English)
  • Alanna Lockward (ed.), BE.BOP 2012-2014: El cuerpo en el continente de la conciencia negra, pref. Walter Mignolo, Buenos Aires: Del Signo, 2016, 198 pp. Publisher. (Spanish)
    • Walter Mignolo, "Prefacio".
    • Alanna Lockward, "Introducción".
    • Erna Brodber, "El continente de la conciencia negra: una mirada sobre la historia de la diáspora africana desde la esclavización hasta la actualidad".
    • Fatima El Tayeb, "L*s otr*s Europe*s".
    • Walter Mignolo, "Reflexiones sobre BE.BOP".
    • Teresa María Díaz Nerio, "Deshaciendo la risa de la colonialidad".
    • Artwell Cain, "Acerca del conocimiento y el universo BE.BOP".
    • Robbie Shilliam, "BE.BOP: indignación, resistencia y sanación".
    • Rolando Vázquez, "El reto de decolonizar Europa".
    • Simmi Dullay, "Breve recopilación de reflexiones y declaraciones acerca de BE,BOP (2012-2014)".
    • Manuela Boatcă, "Ciudadanía corporal de la Europa negra 2012".
    • Julia Roth, "Un agradecimiento profundo".
    • Lesley-Anne Brown, "Revoluciones espirituales en Dinamarca (o por qué sonreímos al encontrarnos)".
    • Teresa María Díaz Nerio, "Curando la colonialidad y creando colectivamente".
    • Yoel Díaz Vázquez, "Túmbenlo: derrocando las esculturas sociales de la colonialidad".
    • Jeannette Ehlers, "Sanar y actuar en las plantaciones de arte de la modernidad".
    • Patricia Kaersenhout, "Descalza en la nieve".
    • Quinsy Gario, "Las redes tienen muchos agujeros".
    • Alanna Lockward, "Revoluciones espirituales: políticas corporales en el continente de conciencia negra".
    • Transnational Decolonial Institute, "Apuntes sobre la formación y transformación del lado más oscuro de la modernidad: la colonialidad", trans. Laura Judit Alegre.
    • Laura Judit Alegre, "La traducción intercultural como acción y cooperación decolonizante".
  • Alessandro Petti (DAAR), Refugee Heritage, eds. Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, and Anton Vidokle, e-flux Architecture, Feb 2017. A dossier compiled through a series of workshops, lectures and a course hosted at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm; nominates the Palestinian refugee camp of Dheisheh in Bethlehem, for UNESCO recognition. Responses. [30] (English)
  • Pedro Pablo Gómez, Catherine Walsh, Edgar Ricardo Lambuley, Aprender, crear, sanar: estudios artísticos en perspectiva decolonial, Bogotá: Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Feb 2018, 106 pp. (Spanish)
    • Catherine Walsh, "Estudios (inter) culturales en clave de-colonial".
    • Edgar Ricardo Lambuley, "Decolonialidad y Sanación: disertación desde los estudios interculturales".
    • Pedro Pablo Gómez, "Lugares de encuentro y colaboración entre los estudios culturales y los estudios artísticos".
  • Gabi Ngcobo (ed.), 10. Berlin Biennale für Zeitgenössische Kunst: We Don't Need Another Hero / 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin: Distanz, 2018, 214+181 pp. Exh. catalogue. Excerpt. Exhibition. (German)/(English)
  • Leïla Cukierman, Gerty Dambury, Françoise Vergès (eds.), Décolonisons les arts!, Paris: L'Arche, Sep 2018, 144 pp. Contains a series of artistic and political manifestos about the current ethnic discriminations in the arts and lack of diversity on the stage. Contributors: Kader Attia, Marine Bechelot Nguyen, Rébecca Chaillon, Myriam Dao, Eva Doumbia, Daïa Durimel, Karima El Kharraze, Amandine Gay, Mohamed Guellati, D' de Kabal, Hassane Kassi Kouyaté, Jalil Leclaire, Olivier Marboeuf, Pascale Obolo, Sandra Sainte Rose Fanchine. Publisher. Review: Kodjo-Grandvaux (Le Monde). (French)
  • Seloua Luste Boulbina, Les miroirs vagabonds ou la décolonisation des savoirs (art, littérature, philosophie), Dijon: Les presses du réel, Sep 2018, 160 pp. Introduction. Publisher. Review: Kodjo-Grandvaux (Le Monde). (French)
  • Raphaël Grisey, Bouba Touré (eds.), Semer Somankidi Coura: A Generative Archive, Berlin: Archive Books, Nov 2019, 320 pp. Based on a research project led by artists Raphaël Grisey and Bouba Touré around the archives of the self-organized agricultural cooperative Somankidi Coura, in Mali. A historical reflection on agricultural, archival, health, and migratory issues through a decolonial perspective. Contributions by Raphaël Grisey, Tobias Hering, Olivier Marboeuf, Aïssatou Mbodj-Pouye, Jean-Philippe Dedieu, Karinne Parrot, Romain Tiquet, Kaddù Yaraax, Sidney Sokhona, interviews with Bakhoré Bathily, Goundo Kamissokho Niakhaté, Mady Koïta Niakhaté, Ladji Niangané, Ousmane Sinaré, Siré Soumaré, Bouba Touré. Publisher. (English)
    • Semer Somankidi Coura: une archive générative, Berlin: Archive Books, Nov 2019, 320 pp. [37] (French)
  • Diedrich Diederichsen, Anselm Franke (eds.), Love and Ethnology: The Colonial Dialectic of Sensitivity (after Hubert Fichte), Berlin: Sternberg Press, and Berlin: Haus der Kulturen Welt, Dec 2019, 220 pp. Halfway between a catalogue and a reader, this publication documents a long-term, touring exhibition project on the critical reception of Hubert Fichte's ethnographic travel literature. This large-scale initiative brings forth a multi-faceted debate on colonial modernism, ethnography, poetry and sexuality. Contributions by Dulcie Abrahams Altass, Kader Attia, Jan-Frederik Bandel, Jürgen Bock, Lisa Deml, Diedrich Diederichsen, Rosa Eidelpes, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Anselm Franke, Renée Green, Ayrson Heráclito, Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz, Koyo Kouoh, Dirck Linck, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Mario Navarro, Amilcar Packer, Marleen Schröder, Erhard Schüttpelz, David Simo, Kerstin Stakemeier, Yesomi Umolu. Publisher, Publisher. Exhibition. [38] (English)
  • Anthony Downey (ed.), Critique in Practice: Renzo Martens' “Episode III: Enjoy Poverty”, Berlin: Sternberg Press, Dec 2019, 372 pp. Explores the legacy of Renzo Martens' landmark film Enjoy Poverty, a provocative work establishing how poverty became Congo's most lucrative export. Contributions by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Pieter van Bogaert, Jelle Bouwhuis, Eva Barois de Caevel, J. J. Charlesworth, T. J. Demos, Angela Dimitrakaki, Anthony Downey, Charles Esche, Dan Fox, Matthias De Groof, Xander Karskens, J. A. Koster, Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, Suhail Malik, Renzo Martens, Nina Möntmann, René Ngongo, Laurens Otto, Paul O'Kane, Nikolaus Perneczky, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Kolja Reichert, Els Roelandt, Ruben De Roo, kąrî'kạchä seid'ou, Gregory Sholette, Sanne Sinnige, Emilia Terracciano, Nato Thompson, Niels Van Tomme, Frank Vande Veire, Eyal Weizman, Vivian Ziherl, Artur Żmijewski. Publisher. (English)
  • Alice Procter, The Whole Picture: The colonial story of the art in our museums & why we need to talk about it, London: Cassell, Mar 2020, 304 pp. [39] [40]. Author runs Uncomfortable Art Tours since 2017. (English)

Primary references[edit]

  • Aníbal Quijano, "Colonialidad y modernidad/racionalidad", Perú indígena 13:29, Lima: Instituto Indigenista Peruano, 1992, pp 11-20, PDF. Describes coloniality as the indispensable underside of modernity, which began in the 15th century and continues today, and defines it as a matrix of power that operates through four interrelated domains: the control of economy, the control of authority, the control of gender and sexuality, and the control of subjectivity and knowledge. (Spanish)
    • "Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality", trans. Sonia Therborn, in Globalizations and Modernities. Experiences, Perspectives and Latin America, eds. Goran Therborn with Lise-Lotte Wallenius, Stockholm: Forksningsradnamnden, 1999, pp 41-51; repr., Cultural Studies 21:2-3, 2007, pp 168-178; repr. in Globalization and the Decolonial Option, eds. Walter Mignolo and Arturo Escobar, London/New York: Routledge, 2009, pp 22-32. [41] (English)