Monday, 28 February 2011

All that is solid melts into air but I can't change anything

Stuart Hall Library Reading group discussion post

Thursday 10th February

Dimitrakaki, Angela. "All that is sold melts into air but I can't change anything": on the identity of artists in the networks of global capital' in Jonathan Harris (ed.) Identity theft: the cultural colonisation of contemporary art. Liverpool UP, 2008, pp.221-245.

Thanks to everyone that attended our reading group discussion. Unfortunately due to technical problems we were unable to record the discussions from the evening. Previous audio recordings can be found

Key questions for discussion

  • What did you think of the text?

  • Dimitrakaki seems to be asking, 'what is the role of the artist in the age of globalisation?'

  • p.224 Interesting quote from Rashid Araeen about the 'logic of multiculturalism', and 'how the dominant culture can accomodate those who have no power in such a way that the power of the dominant is preserved.' How far do you think that multiculturalism has been about acknowledging difference without questioning or changing exisisting power structures?

  • p.240 '[...]today identity has become suspect, and this happened as it exchanged the 'soft' realm of culture for the 'hard' realm of non-cultural politics'. Diitrakaki then asks, 'What fills identity's negative space'?

  • p.240 Would you agree with the statement, '[...]art appears to be disempowered in a milieu where power is reportedly everywhere[...], including the institutions where this powerless art circulates'.

  • p. 241 '[...] we are witnessing the return to a subject in terms of economic relations [...]' and Dimitraki sees this as the interrelation of aesthetics and politics. What does this locate us as thinking subjects (who might be artists)?

  • Dimitrakaki acknowledges the historical and cultural shifts that have taken place, the forces of globalisation, ie. p.239 ' the persisten and meticulous transference of meaning from the economic to the cultural subject', and in addition I would argue that September 11 was an ideal justification for the demonisation of 'cultural difference'. - Arguably cultural difference has never been seen as harmless, particularly in the West.

Next meeting

Our next reading group will take place Thursday 10th March 2011.

We will be reading Kopytoff, Igor 'The cultural biography of things: commodification as process' in Arjun Appadurai (ed.) The Social life of things: commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge UP, 1986 (reprint 2003), pp.64-91

To reserve a place please contact us

Our newly updated list of upcoming texts for discussion is now available

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Race Revolt zine launch

Race Revolt zine launch

On Thursday 27th January we were very excited to launch the new issue of Race Revolt zine in the library. Ever since May last year when we launched our library zine collection, we have been hoping to collaborate in some way with Race Revolt as the zine is a personal favourite of the library team. We wanted to engage with the themes raised in each issue and hoped that the Stuart Hall Library would be a space for discussion and interaction as well as a chance to introduce the zine to new audiences.

Race Revolt compiles contributions on race politics by feminists and queers; the zine began in 2007 'as an intervention into the silences around race in queer, feminist and activist communities.' To launch Issue 5 of Race Revolt we invited editor Humaira Saeed , along with contributors to the zine: Yasmine Brien, Su Real , and Melissa Steiner, to discuss their contributions to the zine.

The evening was a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with one of our favourite zines and to interact with the specific points and issues. Each presentation was also grounded in personal and accessible language which is extremely refreshing and something I've really enjoyed in our series of zine events in the library.While it's not to say that zines and zine culture can't be intellectualised or theorised, it's so much more engaging to hear writers and artsists talk in extremely personal ways, particularly as many attendees at our zine events are new to the world of zine cultures. It was particularly exciting to overhear a member of the audience discussing the event afterwards saying "I didn't know zines were that easy to make. I want to make one now!"

If you weren't able to attend but would like to hear these presentations for yourself then audio recordings from the event are now available here

Thank you to all our guests and to everyone who attended. It's so encouraging to hear all your positive feedback and to see such excitement for zines and zine culture. We hope to continue our series of zine events this year so please stay tuned for further info. And an extra big thanks to Charlotte Cooper for her extremely generous donation of zines for the library collection!

Copies of Race Revolt can be found in the Stuart Hall Library, as well as online via the Race Revolt website.

Our library users might also be interested in the related race Revolt event Towards New Forms of Queer Belonging. This event sees a series of workshops and roundtable discussions challenging the ways in which gay rights are being used in nationalist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric and ask what an effective form of queer solidarity might look like. For the full schedule of events please visit the Race Revolt website.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Stuart Hall Library reading group discussion post

Thursday 13th January 2011

Boyce, Carole. 'From "post-coloniality" to uprising textualities: Black women writing the critique of Empire' in Black women, writing and identity: migrations of the subject. Routledge, 1994.

Our first reading group of the year was a small discussion but fascinating nontheless. For those unable to attend an audio recording is now available via the library website.

Key questions for discussion:

  • What did you make of the text?

  • Would you say that we are in a post-colonial era?

  • Post-colonial theory emerged in the 1990s. How relevant is it to contemporary life, both inside and outside of academia?

  • What is the importance of gender in relation to post-colonial and other theories? Does if matter that most of the theorising has been done by men?

  • P.81 What do you think of CBD's statement that: 'post-coloniality represents a misnaming of current realities?[...]'?

  • P.83 What do you think of the statement: 'We are not beyond Western colonialism... Western colonialism is not the only colonialism around.'?

  • P.84 Quoting CBD: '[...] the ideology of most "postings" convets the that the older systems, as well as their after-effects, are carried over into the present of future'. CBD gives 'post-feminism' as an example. Can 'post-racial' also be added to this as examples of ideologies/theories which have an element of denial about them?

Next meeting:

Our next reading group will take place Thursday 10th February 2011. We will be reading Dimitrakaki, Angela. "All that is sold melts into air' but I can't change anything': on the indentity of the artist in the networks of global capital', in Jonathan Harris (ed.) Identity theft: the cultural colonisation of contemporary art. Liverpool UP, 2008, pp.221-245.

To reserve a place please contact us

Our new updated list of upcoming texts for discussion is now availalble here, along with audio recording from previous reading group discussions.