October, 174: A Questionnaire on Decolonization (2020)

22 March 2021, dusan

“The term decolonize has gained a new life in recent art activism, as a radical challenge to the Eurocentrism of museums (in light of Native, Indigenous, and other epistemological perspectives) as well as in the museum’s structural relation to violence (either in its ties to oligarchic trustees or to corporations engaged in the business of war or environmental depredation). In calling forth the mid-twentieth-century period of decolonization as its historical point of reference, the word’s emphatic return is rhetorically powerful, and it corresponds to a parallel interest among scholars in a plural field of postcolonial or global modernisms. The exhortation to decolonize, however, is not uncontroversial-some believe it still carries a Eurocentric bias. Indeed, it has been proposed that, for the West, de-imperialization is perhaps even more urgent than decolonization.

What does the term decolonize mean to you in your work in activism, criticism, art, and/or scholarship? Why has it come to play such an urgent role in the neoliberal West? How can we link it historically with the political history of decolonization, and how does it work to translate postcolonial theory into a critique of the neocolonial contemporary art world?”

Respondents include Nana Adusei-Poku, Brook Andrew, Sampada Aranke, Ian Bethell-Bennett, Kader Attia, Andrea Carlson, Elise Y. Chagas, ISUMA, Iftikhar Dadi, Janet Dees, Nitasha Dhillon, Hannah Feldman, Josh T. Franco, David Garneau, Renee Green, Iman Issa, Arnold J. Kemp, Thomas Lax, Nancy Luxon, Nelson Maldonado-Torres, Saloni Mathur, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Alan Michelson, Partha Mitter, Isabela Muci Barradas, Steven Nelson, Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Alessandro Petti, Paulina Pineda, Christopher Pinney, Elizabeth Povinelli, Ryan Rice, Andrew Ross, Paul Chaat Smith, Nancy Spector, Francoise Verges, Rocio Zambrana, and Joseph R. Zordan.

Edited by Huey Copeland, Hal Foster, David Joselit, and Pamela M. Lee
Publisher MIT Press, Fall 2020
Open access
ISSN 0162-2870
123 pages

Publisher

PDF

October, 155: A Questionnaire on Materialisms (2016)

6 March 2016, dusan

“Recent philosophical tendencies of “Actor-Network Theory,” “Thing Theory,” “Object-Oriented Ontology,” “Speculative Realism,”and “Vibrant Materialism,” have profoundly challenged the centrality of subjectivity in the humanities and, arguably, the perspectives that theories of the subject from the psychoanalytic to the Foucauldian have afforded (on the operations of power, the production of difference, and the constitution of the social, for instance). At least four moves characterize these discourses:

• Attempting to think the reality of objects beyond human meanings and uses. This other reality is often rooted in “thingness” or an animate materiality.
• Asserting that humans and objects form networks or assemblages across which agency and even consciousness are distributed.
• Shifting from epistemology, in all of its relation to critique, to ontology, where the being of things is valued alongside that of persons.
• Situating modernity in geological time with the concept of the “Anthropocene,” an era defined by the destructive ecological effects of human industry.

Many artists and curators, particularly in the UK, Germany, and the United States, appear deeply influenced by this shift. Is it possible, or desirable, to decenter the human in discourse on art in particular? What is gained in the attempt, and what—or who—disappears from view? Is human difference—gender, race, power of all kinds—elided? What are the risks in assigning agency to objects; does it absolve us of responsibility, or offer a new platform for politics?” (from the introduction)

Responses by Emily Apter, Ed Atkins, Armen Avanessian, Bill Brown, Giuliana Bruno, Julia Bryan-Wilson, D. Graham Burnett, Mel Y. Chen, Andrew Cole, Christoph Cox, Suhail Malik, T. J. Demos, Jeff Dolven, David T. Doris, Helmut Draxler, Patricia Falguières, Peter Galison, Alexander R. Galloway, Rachel Haidu, Graham Harman, Camille Henrot, Brooke Holmes, Tim Ingold, Caroline A. Jones, Alex Kitnick, Sam Lewitt, Helen Molesworth, Alexander Nemerov, Michael Newman, Spyros Papapetros, Susanne Pfeffer, Gregor Quack, Charles Ray, Matthew Ritchie, André Rottmann, Amie Siegel, Kerstin Stakemeier, Artie Vierkant, McKenzie Wark, Eyal Weizman, Christopher S. Wood, and Zhang Ga.

Edited by David Joselit, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, and Hal Foster
Publisher MIT Press, Winter 2016
ISSN 0162-2870
108 pages

PDF (updated on 2017-11-24)