A distant laughter: the poetics of dislocation.

Fisher, Jean (2008) A distant laughter: the poetics of dislocation. In: Intercultural aesthetics: a worldview perspective. Van den Braumbussche, Antoon, Kimmerle, Heinz and Note, Nicole, eds. Springer Verlag, Brussels, pp. 157-176. ISBN 9781402045073. [Book Section]


The subject of this essay began 25 years ago with a somewhat naïve curiosity about the centrality of the operations of language in the art practices of certain artists emerging from a traumatic history of colonialism. To be sure, by the late 1970s, the play between image and word in artworks had become common practice following its reintroduction by Pop art and Conceptualism. But for the culturally dislocated subject there seemed to be rather more at stake politically than gaming with language for its own sake, or as a strategy for challenging assumptions governing the institutions of art as such. The issue seemed to be one of agency: for the individual or collective to construct subjectivity it must acquire the language and power to act within the socio-political and historical relations that constitute its life-world. However, the histories of colonialism demonstrate that cultural dispossession sets in motion a catastrophic mutilation of communal identities and social structures. Where ancestral belonging to place, language, culture and history is violently interrupted the self is deprived of a ground from which to narrate itself in the world and imagine new possibilities of existence. Thus, to dispossess a people is in extremis to reduce them to what Giorgio Agamben calls ‘bare life’ or the ‘inhuman’, to alienate them from both the past and the future.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design > Visual Arts
Item ID: 869
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2009 15:24
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:12
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/869

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