Welcome To Art History For Dreamers
< a decolonial art school | www.decolonizetheart.world >
☁️ Decolonize The Art World believes in imagination as Prophecy ☁️
It’s not as simple as bringing more black and brown people into the museum, but asking why we weren’t there in the first place? There could definitely be more but there are no shortage of inventive Black art workers, artists, and community cultural production - We deserve more than assimilating into the current museum-industrial complex. Rather, after decades worth of violence, erasure, and being embedded in colonialism, this future is one where the museum has de-centralized by redistributing funding into those alternatives contextually relevant models - Let’s get into that - the how, why, and what other possibilities exist.
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Unless otherwise stated or sourced, writing by Yaa Addae ([email protected]).
Change everything except the roots that do the changing! And in change we must look both backwards and forwards …”
"Cybernetics comes from the Greek root kubernetes, meaning pilot or helmsman, and was first used by Plato in his dialogues on Laws and The Republic to denote a governor of a country. In the 1940s, cybernetics was given its current meaning by Norbert Wiener in his 1948 book Cybernetics, Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. According to Weiner, at a basic level, cybernetics refers to “the set of problems centred about communication, control and statistical mechanics, whether in the machine or in living tissue”. Wiener’s concept was that the behaviour of all organisms, machines and other physical systems is controlled by their communication structures, both within themselves and with their environment. The result of this book was that the notion of feedback penetrated almost every aspect of technical culture. Early influential cyberneticians working in Britain include W Ross Ashby, Stafford Beer, W Grey Walter, Frank H George and Gordon Pask. Pask’s interactive cybernetic work Colloquy of Mobiles was exhibited at CS. This large-scale reactive and educable sculptural installation is now seen as a precursor to human-machine interaction. Cybernetics, the study of how machine, social and biological systems behave, offered a means of constructing a framework for art production in which artists could consider new technologies and their impact on life." - Catherine Mason
Dub, Wayward Lives, Demonic Grounds, poetics of relation, disidenification, lo-tek indigenous design, biomimicry
Rotten Roots, New Seeds, Healthy Plant :
“You can’t cure or “revive” a plant if the roots are dead+ rotten. The only solution is to pull out the whole thing, treat the soil, +plant a healthy new seed.”
-Gabby Duran (@GBDRN)
The British Museum, originating in the 18th century came out of Hans Sloane’s private collection- when he died in 1753, “he set up his will to ask the British Parliament to buy his collection for £20,000 and set up a public museum that anybody, whether they were British or from outside Britain, would be able to enter free of charge. Of course, what they had in mind at the time was mainly dignitaries and foreign scholars from other parts of Europe.Curators didn’t like the idea that lower orders of society were going to come in and get their hands on the collections. They had a great deal of class anxiety and believed learning was a genteel privilege. It took a long time into the 19th and even 20th century to accept that.” - James Delbourgo
Narrative rewriting and acknowledging the past alone cannot fix this- you cannot curate or juxtapose your way out of centuries worth of violence.
This morning, New York-based Activation residency exploring healing, justice and reimagining intimate gathering + a year round co-op fund surpassed their goal of 50,000 dollars. Artist @annapakart sold her work in an online auction for $25K, which her gallery, @rosskramergallery matched and donated to resistance as respite.
I cannot fully describe the immense joy I feel to witness the realisation of another black queer dreamer’s vision realised. Congratulations to @activationresidency for raising enough to not only care for 50 frontline responders over 5 consecutive weekends, but move closer towards buying land to sustain this work for years to come.
Imagine if the British Museum and its counterparts redistributed the wealth they built on slavery and colonialism into Black Cultural Organisations+ Community Conservation Programmes? Imagine if profiting off of Black creativity meant actively pouring that back into the respective creative ecosystems. Imagine not having to prove yourself worthy of resources that are yours?
This is the work of restoration- not restitution, not a loan, not annotated labelling and DEFINITELY not slapping us in the face by selling stolen ancestral art on the secondary market(Reference -Image: 4, but let’s get into the auctionhouses + commercial galleries on another day).
You’re just not the it girl you used to be- and denying that instead of more contextual, community specific art engagement -is tired.
A central part of decolonize the art world is demystifying the moving parts of these world(s). The lack of transparency about power in the art world not only reinforces its status quo, but encourages gatekeepers. The shift required is so much more than hiring decisions, institutions as a whole are deeply embedded in recreating the dynamics they were born of, yet try and move like Miley Cyrus ‘transforming’ into Hannah Montana- same thing, and we can tell.
Felwine Sarr: I take the economy as an example. When one speaks of economics, one often forgets that business science is first and foremost an anthropology about individuals who have certain resources, living in a particular geography and under certain constraints, and who try to use their limited resources under these circumstances as optimally as possible to their needs. But even the most basic economic event, i.e. production, consumption, exchange, is not a natural behavior, but consists entirely of social constructions.DU: What does that mean?FS: That there is a plurality of economic behaviors in human history, of ways of behaving in the domain of economics. The type of economy that is dominant today in Europe and elsewhere has emerged at some given point in time. It is following a certain dynamic, and sooner or later it will disappear again, I am quite sure about that. There are already serious economists who speak of post-capitalism and what an economic system can look like when there is no financial market and the like. What I want to say is that the economy is first and foremost a relationship. Every exchange of material is based on a social relationship that makes the exchange possible in the first place. Many societies understood this concept and base their material values on a relational economy, which is first of all about interpersonal relationships. When you look at the latter, you notice that there is a kind of old and profound substratum that gives rise to very different forms of economic relations, the very anthropologies of which I spoke previously. When I try to find and formulate alternatives, I refer to economics as intersecting relationships that is the foundation for any material exchange.
SEX MUSEUMS: THE POLITICS AND PERFORMANCE OF DISPLAY. By Jennifer Tyburczy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015; pp. 296.
"This is a powerful illustration indeed of the book’s subtitle—The Politics and Performance of Display—and thus from the outset we are aware that the threat of violence is never far away from any exhibition that asks us to think about sex. Within this context Tyburczy’s project aims to demonstrate “how museums participate in the production of emotions and ideas about the people who inhabit the margins of citizenship and about the parameters of acceptable speech” (xvii)."
readings : unsettling the coloniality of being/power/truth/freedom,” and “no humans involved” by sylvia wynter and reading them alongside black power by kwame ture and charles hamilton. also the intro to becoming human by zakiyyah jackson
Museology is rooted in othering non-western cultures, a cultural vehicle for validating the work of colonialists at the time.This led to museums being involved in creating and maintaining an image of Western Europe juxtaposed against the “uncivilised and uncultured”. This history is important in considering the ways in which the Art world still embodies these structures today and consequently, influences the way people move through it. For centuries, Black creativity has been resisted, co-opted, commodified and erased, all at the same time....
Decolonize the art world believes in the power of critical imagining.
What world do we want to see emerge? How can we transition from the exclusivity of colonial museum and gallery structures into more well-researched contextual forms of engagement?
Going forward, we will be sharing resources and highlighting anticolonial+antiracist approaches to cultural narrative building.
In imagining new cultural infrastructures, what histories of community care have been practiced by our art-cestors?
‘The Freedom Quilting Bee was established in 1967 in Alberta,Alabama to help sharecropping families earn independent income. Some of the women in Alberta and Gee’s Bend,Alabama came together to produce and sell quilts. In a few years they had made enough money to buy land and build a sewing factory. They also provided day care and after-school services for members’ children and others. The cooperative was a founding member of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and is an example of women’s leadership and control over their own work conditions and of community solidarity, in terms of the ways in which this cooperative supported and helped its community.’
-Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice
Jessica Gordon Nembhard
Ja'Tovia Gary, Citational Ethics (Saidiya Hartman, 2017), 2020, neon, glass, wire, metal, 47 x 47 x 6 in.