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Geographies of Doubt

August 11th, 2010 by Remco de Blaaij

A small remark on my recent visit to Palestine, a part of a text that I recently used in a bigger one. A small alinea that I quite like in terms of thinking of the geography of an institution like ours.

Photo by Sander Buyck
Photo by Sander Buyck

Photo by Sander Buyck

Geographies of doubt

In a global community endlessly confronted by self-reflexive responses to topics that slide from inter-cultural exchanges to the geo-politics of emotion, a change needs to be registered in already existing methods and reactions. The arena of artistic practice with its ever-changing positions and knowledge of affect and implication seems to be urgent, but why? Why does a museum have an interest beyond the borders of its own geography?


Questions that began the series of activities I just narrated come from the belief that physical and mental boundaries exist and that nationalities, due to political conflicts, imply physical exclusion (the meetings I described are probably the most direct example of this). These boundaries have to come down in order to directly confront these issues and open gaps offering imaginable alternatives for an unknown future. Of course these systems cannot be changed in a moment, confined to the faults inherent in national regulations, restricted travelling and personal inhibition. But what are the practices of occupation and restriction that we come across? On what terms do we retrospectively see colonial motivations as we experience these places in the present? And are we ourselves repeating some kind of imperialism by our presence and activities there? Is it possible to offer new forms of criticality?


From the site of European Cultural Foundation:


Bringing people closer together through cultural cooperation and creative activities is at the heart of all we do. Our independence allows us to take risks, do things differently, and work where others might not go.

A very noble cause I would say, but can we not also think of modes of dependence rather than disconnection through ‘independence’? Is this not the greater risk? Collaboration and communality rather than exclusion and self-sufficiency.

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