Reiko Tomii: What is vexing is not seeing analogies, parallels, or references with Euro-American examples per se. But if we stop at seeing analogies, we stay trapped in an ingrained Eurocentrism. What we must do is examine the work in question in its own right and explore its narrative tangents—how did an artist arrive at that decision in the locally or individually specific circumstances and in the globally informed contexts?
This opens up art into an incredibly diverse field. What are the methodologies or approaches that can guide us through such a field?
This is where I would like to introduce the methodological concepts of 'narrative tangents' and 'contact points' for further amplification. 'Contact point' represents a contact between the Eurocentric narrative and a local narrative, or among local narratives. A contact may be through connection or resonance. The former encompasses actual connections, such as interpersonal and informational encounters with counterparts, while the latter may be formulated post hoc among two or more similar works, where little such connection existed. Connections routinely constitute the basis of transnational art history, but they must be supplemented to factor the contemporaneity of resonating practices worldwide.
Expression typically takes place inside the studio, whereas operation concerns an artist's effort to make his or her work public and otherwise engage society outside the studio.
In brief, the basic principle behind comparison is that contemporaneity (similarity) in expression does not always mean contemporaneity (similarity) in operation.