Exile: Art after Culture? A second decade of e-flux journal

In 1862, Lord Acton warned: Exile is the nursery of nationality. Nationhood and belonging are born from estrangement. A new nation is nourished by identifying lost entitlements, by cultivating a true belonging that was violated or interrupted, somehow denied or deferred.

Today, one might ask oneself: What have I been estranged from? What have I been denied? But also: What is encouraging me to sense these debts, to settle scores? It is not only a question of what was ripped from one’s grasp or who was torn from one’s home, but of who benefits from that sense of loss. It is a question of what is being built from the sense that all losses should in some way be reversed and restored to their rightful owners.

Now, we must be a bit careful here. Because much has been lost and much has been stolen. There are valid claims to be made. Yet alongside a growing awareness of losses to colonialism, in Europe there are many who lament the loss of empire itself. Moving even further to the right, the loss of empires that never existed are sensed as a daily tragedy.

In this climate, artists and art practitioners are suddenly faced with a politics that goes far beyond social engagement to become an affectively and historically charged, ideologically flammable material. Other questions arise: Are we, like many others, estranged from the modern promises of art tied to revolutionary transformation? Do we want to search backward to restore those promises? Or press forward with few guarantees?

With lectures, responses, and workshops by Julieta Aranda, Kaye Cain-Nielsen, Binna Choi, Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, iLiana Fokianaki, Coco Fusco, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Charl Landvreugd, Chus Martinez, Metahaven, Christian Nyampeta, Anton Vidokle, Mary Wang, and Brian Kuan Wood.


9:30 am: Registration and coffee

10 am – 12 pm: Welcome and introduction by Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy and Brian Kuan Wood
Presentations by Metahaven and Christian Nyampeta

12 pm: Lunch break

1 – 1:50 pm: Workshops Jeanne van Heeswijk and Mary Wang

2 – 3:40 pm: Introduction by Kaye Cain-Nielsen
Presentations by iLiana Fokianaki and Coco Fusco
Responses by Charl Landvreugd and Binna Choi

3:40 – 4 pm: Coffee break

4 – 5 pm: Presentations by Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle
Response by Chus Martinez
Conclusions by Kaye Cain-Nielsen and Yoeri Meessen

5 – 6 pm: Drinks


Visitors of the conference have the opportunity to attend one of two workshops. Sign-up for workshops at registration, please note that seats for workshops are limited.

WORKSHOP 1: Composing “Factless Autobiographies” with Mary Wang
WORKSHOP 2: ‘Radicalizing the Local, and a Politics of Relation’ with Jeanne van Heeswijk

Exile is co-organized by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and e-flux journal, in collaboration with Erasmus University College and the Rotterdam Arts & Sciences Lab.



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