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



Martina Griesser-Stermscheg, Nora Sternfeld, Luisa Ziaja (eds.): Sich mit Sammlungen anlegen. Gemeinsame Dinge und alternative Archive (2020) [German]

16 October 2020, dusan

“Wie lässt sich die Idee der Commons im Kontext von Museen, Archiven und Sammlungen denken? In welchem Spannungsverhältnis stehen alternative Sammlungsstrategien und die Reproduktion eines etablierten Kanons? Welche Rolle spielen künstlerische Praxen für die Demokratisierung und Zugänglichmachung von Sammlungen?

Gegen den Trend einer zunehmenden Ökonomisierung und Kanonisierung des Sammelns gibt es immer lautere Stimmen, die Leerstellen in Sammlungen kritisieren und Diskussionen über neue diverse Sammlungsstrategien befeuern. Versteht man die Schaffung von Commons auch als eine soziale Praxis für die Formulierung alternativer Formen der Wissensproduktion und des Wissensaustauschs, so eröffnen sich für öffentliche Museen, Sammlungen und Archive herausfordernde Fragestellungen hinsichtlich Zugänglichkeit, Eigentum und Öffentlichkeit. Ausgehend von dem kürzlich erschienenen Band Sich mit Sammlungen anlegen. Gemeinsame Dinge und alternative Archive entwickeln die Beitragenden neue Perspektiven auf die Verknüpfung etablierter institutioneller Infrastrukturen und alternative Methoden des Sammelns.

Mit Antonia Alampi, Stefan Aue, Filipa César, Knut Ebeling, Martina Griesser-Stermscheg, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Vera Lauf, Cornelia Sollfrank, Nora Sternfeld, Luisa Ziaja, Franciska Zólyom u. a.”

Publisher De Gruyter, Berlin, 2020
Angewandte series
ISBN 9783110700442, 3110700441
300 pages

Book launch (with video discussion)

PDF (27 MB)

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay: Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (2019)

22 November 2019, dusan

“A passionately urgent call for all of us to unlearn imperialism and repair the violent world we share

In this theoretical tour-de-force, renowned scholar Ariella Aïsha Azoulay calls on us to recognize the imperial foundations of knowledge and to refuse its strictures and its many violences.

Azoulay argues that the institutions that make our world, from archives and museums to ideas of sovereignty and human rights to history itself, are all dependent on imperial modes of thinking. Imperialism has segmented populations into differentially governed groups, continually emphasized the possibility of progress while it tries to destroy what came before, and voraciously seeks out the new by sealing the past away in dusty archival boxes and the glass vitrines of museums.

By practicing what she calls potential history, Azoulay argues that we can still refuse the original imperial violence that shattered communities, lives, and worlds, from native peoples in the Americas at the moment of conquest to the Congo ruled by Belgium’s brutal King Léopold II, from dispossessed Palestinians in 1948 to displaced refugees in our own day. In Potential History, Azoulay travels alongside historical companions—an old Palestinian man who refused to leave his village in 1948, an anonymous woman in war-ravaged Berlin, looted objects and documents torn from their worlds and now housed in archives and museums—to chart the ways imperialism has sought to order time, space, and politics.

Rather than looking for a new future, Azoulay calls upon us to rewind history and unlearn our imperial rights, to continue to refuse imperial violence by making present what was invented as ‘past’ and making the repair of torn worlds the substance of politics.”

Publisher Verso Books, London, 2019
ISBN 9781788735711, 1788735714
656 pages

Interviews with author: Jadaliyya (2019), Brad Evans (LA Review of Books, 2020), Sabrina Alli (Guernica, 2020).

Reviews: Ian Wallace (Artforum, 2020), Guy Mannes-Abbott (Third Text, 2020), Louis Rogers (review31, 2020), Stephen Sheehi (Hyperallergic, 2020), Luke Urbain (InVisible Culture, 2020), Lunettes Rouges (Le Monde blog, 2020, FR, part 2), Sascha Crasnow (Field, 2022).

Roundtable: Gil Hochberg, Zoé Samudzi, Joshua Simon, Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman (Protocols, 2020).


HTML (added on 2020-2-2)
EPUB (15 MB)