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

Review: Lunettes Rouges (Le Monde blog, 2020, FR, part 2).
Roundtable: Gil Hochberg, Zoé Samudzi, Joshua Simon, Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman (Protocols, 2020).

Publisher
WorldCat

EPUB (15 MB)

Really Useful Knowledge (2014)

19 November 2019, dusan

“This catalogue investigates the notion of “really useful knowledge” and its origins. In the 1820s and 1830s, working class organisations in the UK introduced this phrase to describe a body of knowledge that encompassed various “unpractical” disciplines such as politics, economics and philosophy, as opposed to the “useful knowledge” proclaimed by business owners who had previously begun to invest more heavily in their companies’ progress through financing workers’ education in “applicable” disciplines like engineering, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The publication presents texts and conversations that analyse these themes, including philosophy, art, politics and technology.”

With contributions by What, How and for Whom/WHW, Marina Garcés, Raqs Media Collective, Luis Camnitzer, Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, and Gáspár M. Tamás.

Curated by What, How and for Whom/WHW
Publisher Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MACBA), Barcelona, 2014
ISBN 9788480264990, 8480264993
285+[10] pages

Discussion: Charles Esche, Manuel Borja-Villel (L’Internationale, 2015).

Exhibition
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (14 MB)

Laboria Cuboniks: The Xenofeminist Manifesto: A Politics for Alienation (2018)

20 October 2018, dusan

“The real emancipatory potential of technology remains unrealised.

The Xenofeminist Manifesto calls for the scaling up of feminism. Contemporary feminism, it contends, is limited by its predominant investment in local and micropolitical action. What is needed is a feminism capable of systemic intervention. The Xenofeminist Manifesto propose that such a feminism must start from a new universal–one no longer coded as cis, straight, white, and male–with Xenofeminism as its theoretical and technological platform. Drawing on queer and transfeminist theory, as well as philosophical rationalism, against nature and biological essentialism, the feminist collective Laboria Cuboniks instead invest in alienation and the anti-natural, in seizing technology and in embracing the desire for an alien future.

If nature is unjust, change nature!”

Publisher Verso, London, September 2018
Creative Commons BY 4.0 International License
ISBN 9781788731577, 1788731573
95 pages

Commentary: Annie Goh (2018).

Publisher
WorldCat

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EPUB