Walker Art Center
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Translocations


of nomads to traverse well-worn paths, because of borders that inhibit movement. The tragic destiny of a city like Kabul, from the early twentieth century right through to the Taliban years and the war in Afghanistan, is, for instance, signatory of what happens to a location when borders close in and nomads, carrying ideas and images and songs and objects from other spaces, are no longer welcome. This is why we stress the importance of hospitality, of permanent refuges for transients, as an essential factor in a new/old cultural ethic.

To delve into roots in such spaces is necessarily to discover an intricate matrix of intersecting, chaotic "wills to globality." This is true, we think, of all our genealogies. Our selfhood, the apex of the myriad identities that constitute our coming into history today, is composed of many silences and acts of forgetting as much as of remembering and assertion. These omissions are the ones that are located exactly at the point where the tendrils of our roots touch the tendrils of the roots of others from whom we may wish to deny inheritances. The deeper we go into our genealogies, our cultures, our practices, and our languages, the more horizontally spread out they become. In this sense, the discovery of our roots is also a discovery of each of our nomadic inheritances. Each of these nomadic inheritances is an instance of a will to globality.

The will to globality need not be seen only in terms of the desire of the local to reach a predetermined global space--to be "in" on what is provisionally constructed as the global space. We argue that it also resides in all our specific, located abilities to imagine ourselves as global subjects, creating global spaces. This means that it is not only the curator who is a global entity. He or she is no more (or less) of a global entity than are practitioners and artists.

Let us elaborate on what we mean. On Sarai's listserv Reader List, there was a lot of discussion about what happened in New York, in Afghanistan, and in the world in general post-9/11. There was no hesitation on the part of those who live in, say, New Delhi to claim for themselves the global space of New York.

There is, at the moment, a serious and violent sectarian crisis engulfing parts of India. And the listserv is just as active. But curiously, although the constituency of the list is global, no one from outside the subcontinent is writing about what is happening in India at the moment. We could surmise that this is because of a phenomenon that we have always maintained is an "asymmetry of ignorance." We, on the fringes of the global space, know more about the global space than those who are at its core know about us. This is the consequence of the relationship over at least the last two hundred years between centers and peripheries in the cultural universe. But this also paradoxically means that we, at the "local" periphery, can claim the "global" center with far less hesitation. We can be global in a discursive sense, more than someone at the center can be. This is our will to globality. This is what ensures that our locatedness in New Delhi is also the crucial determinant of the nomadism of our concerns and practices.

As Florian Schneider of the No Borders Campaign says, succinctly, "What use are borders if we do not cross them?"

This has been a long posting, but we would like to leave you with a few fragments from a hypertext work in progress that we are developing called "The Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons."[22]

These fragments are entries that define certain terms, as in a dictionary; we offer you the following three words.

Nodes
Any structure that is composed of concentrated masses of materials which act as junction points for the branching out of extensible parts of the overall system may be described as nodal. The concentrations or junctions being the nodes. A nodal structure is a rhizomatic structure, it sets down roots (that branch out laterally) as it travels. Here, nodes may also be likened to the intersection points of fractal systems, the precise locations where new fractal iterations arise out of an existing pattern. A work that is internally composed of memes is inherently nodal. Each meme is a junction point or a node for the lateral branching out of the vector of an idea. In a work that is made up of interconnected nodes, the final structure that emerges is that of a web, in which

22 The work can be viewed in its current, simply text form at http://www.sarai.net/compositions/texts/works/lexicon.htm.