trespassing with Irit

I had the chance to see Irit Rogoff speak this week at the ICI in Berlin, on the topic of what she calls "Geocultures". What continually strikes me about her thinking and approach is her considered attempts to think through the current conditions of the contemporary, and to see within artistic practice a field of research and production that fully embodies the current intensification and dynamics of the contemporary. Following her extremely considered and evocative lecture, I felt very inspired by her dedication to also recognize the interweaving of art production with both forms of global economy as well as political subjectivity, raising such questions as: how do we negotiate the relation of being increasingly situated as individuals and yet ever-deeply involved with global politics and culture, and how might we move away from a language that still sees art production as expressions of representation and develop understanding on the full implications that contemporary practices raise? To get at these questions she proposed a number of terms that might begin to articulate a language of the geocultural. Such terms as "relational geographies" and "linked peripheries" and "regional imagination" were presented, as ways to express how the contemporary is formed around finding affinities across nation-states, and away from regimes of identity toward modes of cross-identification. In addition, at stake is an attempt to think past earlier models based on site-specificity and notions of place to appreciate how relational geographies are generative of modes of occupying and performing the current spatial and temporal dimension of the contemporary, rather than imagining that one ever arrives at "place" or at "truths" related to sites. Overall, I find myself returning to the lecture, as a fresh source of inspiration, and imagine much resonance between her thoughts (which seem based on the condition of cartographic fragmentation in general) and the notion of "unstable urbanism" - might unstable urbanism also be an imaginative space for making links that would come to occupy and perform, through forms of sharing and researching, the conditions of the contemporary, as well as potentially trespassing onto what might be off-limits?


  1. Well said. I too was there last night and found her position and presentation highly inspiring, as you have mentioned, her notion of inhabitation, a term that I find myself using as well in trying to define or describe how places are performed.

  2. This sounds like it was a very interesting lecture and food for further discussion. We should take up some of these issues when you are next at the Academy, Brandon.


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