Walker Art Center

What this means is that no matter where you place your work, it will be read differently depending on the context and on the works that are its neighbors. That's obvious, and not very profound, but let's complicate this picture a bit. Let's speak of neighbors both in spatial and temporal terms. What is the neighborhood of a work?

This questions a canonical understanding of what one's territory is, where one's neighborhood lies, and which cultural materials one can be intimately self-reflective and playful with. We think that it is high time that those of us in the so-called non-West (which latitude is that?) lay claim to all that is called Western, just as naturally as we lay claim to more proximate forms of cultural material. Because what may be close in spatial terms may be far away temporally, and there may be many permutations of this tension between space and time in between. This means that aspects of what is called Indian Art by art historians may be quite far away from us in time, even if it is close to us in space. And of course the larger corpus of what is called Western art is far away both in time and in space. This means that one can begin to think of one's location and neighborhood in quite unexpected ways.

Of course, another consequence of the "asymmetry of ignorance" is that even if a non-Western practitioner were to be reflective of his/her own antecedents, a Western viewer, who takes his/her own vantage point as universal, without recognizing that Euro-American culture or Euro-American modernity is no more and no less provincial than any other spatial configuration of culture and of modernity, may not even recognize that which the practitioner is being reflective about.

What then is the strategy that (for the purpose of argument) a non-Western practitioner can adopt?

To enter and create networks that do not ask (as do immigration officers or bouncers in certain discotheques) about one's cultural antecedents.

To refuse to answer any question in terms of yes or no when it comes to whether one does or does not belong to the West or the East. One can say that one belongs to above or below (?) rather than to East or West.

To make work that belongs to networks and that is uncomfortable with standing alone.

A re-telling, a word taken to signify the simultaneous existence of different versions of a narrative within oral, and from now onwards, digital cultures.
Thus one can speak of a "southern" or a "northern" rescension of a myth, or of a "female" or "male" rescension of a story, or the possibility (to begin with) of Delhi/Berlin/Tehran rescensions of a digital work. The concept of rescension is contraindicative of the notion of hierarchy. A rescen-sion cannot be an improvement, nor can it connote a diminishing of value. A rescension is that version which does not act as a replacement for any other configuration of its constitutive materials. The existence of multiple rescensions is a guarantor of an idea or a work's ubiquity. This ensures that the constellation of narrative, signs, and images that a work embodies is present, and waiting for iteration, at more than one site at any given time. Rescensions are portable and are carried within orbiting kernels within a space. Rescensions, taken together, constitute ensembles that may form an interconnected web of ideas, images, and signs.

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From: Steve Dietz <steve.dietz@walkerart.org>
Date: Tue Mar 19, 2002 8:05pm
Subject: Re: race and the translocal

"To make work that belongs to networks and that is uncomfortable with standing alone."

This is a fine phrase, and it seems to lead, as Raqs suggest in regard to the global curator, to the notion of "shows of shows, networked iterations of works in which flexible and fluid curatorial contexts are themselves up for consideration along with the works they present."