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Carlos Basualdo wrote (3/3/98)
'(Borges) ...says that the margins could paradoxically be in a position
of cultural privilege because of the free and open access that the
periphery may provide to the main corpus of the tradition in question.'
'My whole point is
that the most interesting thing about de Andrade, Rocha, Oiticica and
the whole bunch was to leave the question of nationalism open.'
Olu Oguibe wrote (3/4/98)
'in same vein, my friend from latin america says to me, "resign yourself
to your Otherness the way i got used to mine; we are both marginal."
nevertheless, with all my strength i refuse to accept that displacement,
for to accept that brand on my forehead, to accept that tag, is to
defeat the very purpose of my striving on the new frontiers of history.
no, be the Other, the subaltern if you may; i will not be anyone's
subaltern in or outside cyberspace.'
and (quoting Fanon)
"From the moment the Negro [substitute Latino, Arab, anyone else]
accepts the separation imposed by the European he has no further
There are above two different meanings for "margins, marginal": 1.
Deleuze/Guattari's topological view of margins as privileged position
for creation, invention (production), as it has the power of the
membranes, interfaces, opened up to the outside (Carlos' statements); 2.
margins as hierarchic inferior, powerless position in respect to the
center where the position of power is located (Olu's statement). We also
could say that in 1. the subject locates itself in the margins as a
strategical decision, or at least accepts the place as important
position for resistence, to capture the "devenir minoritaire"; while in
2. the subject is put against his/her will into an excentric position,
forced to live a deprived existence, which he/she must fight against.
I remember the famous map of South America turned upside down by
Uruguayan artist Torres Garcia ("The North is the South", 1936) where he
seemed to say "we're not the margins anymore, now we're the center".
It is interesting to note that both positions 1. and 2. share a sense of
strategy, be it resistence (stay forever on the margins...) or
combat&capture (occupy the center position). The question is: are these
positions mutually exclusive or can we combine 1. and 2. as parts of the
same "guerrilla" (life, art, existence...)? Are both figures adequate
for a "model" of artistic action as intervention inside/outside a
culture? Is there a certain topology where center and margins
interchange continuously, so in one moment the subject locates
him/herself as center and in other moment as margin, membrane? (that is,
fighting for different kinds of power, each particular form of power
producing specific results)
Artistic practice seems to play ambiguously with both positions, as the
artwork is always evoked as the center of the world at a given moment,
mobilizing affects, percepts, thoughts, a myriad of forces (chaos,
cosmos) around it. Be the artwork wherever it is, it has this particular
capacity of aggregate things around it (material, imaterial). But the
art object (object, sculpture, installation, performance, action,
drawing, painting, etc) plays a complex role as a membranous creature
opening itself to unknown regions yet to come, re-ordering the
borderlines of culture/territory, opening up spaces.
As Olu writes, not to accept being put on the margins, and relocating
oneself as powerful person, with dignity, on the center. But at the same
time the center as a local for production/invention necessarily
"dis-centers" itself when assuming its membranous/marginal condition of
revealing more and more newly opended up territories, which importance
is stressed by Carlos.
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