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Reweaving our world(s) anew: decolonial art geographies as spaces of “refuturing”

Event Label
Lecture by Madina Tlostanova
Organisational Units
Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Location Description
mumok kino
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna

In the context of the Spring Curatorial Program 2022: Art Geographies.

18 h – 18.30 h Welcome and Introduction

Johan F. Hartle, Rector Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Rainer Fuchs, Chief Curator, Deputy General Director, mumok
Jelena Kaludjerović, Director of Verein K
Jelena Petrović, Program curator, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Madina Tlostanova: Reweaving our world(s) anew: decolonial art geographies as spaces of “refuturing”

The established art geographies which are still largely normalized in art education all over the world are usually grounded in the principle of delocalization and disembodiment constituted by euromodernity as universal and necessary for all. The latest manifestation of this logic can be found in the concept of the contemporary art which is western be default though at times rebranded as ‘global’ or ‘alter-modern’ and prescribed to everyone as the highest and finest stage in art development marked by commodification and flat temporality (chronophobia). Decoloniality as a specific critical optics of looking at modernity/coloniality elucidates the modern mechanisms of enchantment and ways of self-legitimation, drawing attention to the geopolitics and corpopolitics of being, knowledge, sensing, and gender. This positionality is formulated from the cracks, fissures, zones of discomfort and unsettlement, from modernity’s negotiating in-between-ness. Then the art geographies and trajectories which used to be represented in linear, homogenous and progressivist ways, while de-legitimating any alternative aesthetic values and ‘tempolocalities’, become increasingly pluriversal, forever forking, not necessarily simultaneous or commensurable and often opaque in relation to each other, but also  critical and disruptive of the normalized unified modern art trajectory and seeking for transversal horizontal creative coalitions and dialogues. These unconventional, unfinished, pluriversal art geographies grounded among others in decolonial ‘onto-epistemologies’ defy the revamped geopolitical clichés with their ubiquitous security discourses and power hierarchies and shatter their faulty world orders marked by  the old and new borders of normalization of the state of exception, and elimination of human and other life as such. As a result decolonial art geographies hope to reweave our multiple world(s) anew and not just give them back their erased past but also imbue them once again with a future dimension that we are collectively lacking at the moment. 

Madina Tlostanova is a decolonial feminist verbal artist and professor of postcolonial feminisms at the Department of Thematic Studies (Gender studies) at Linköping University, Sweden. Previously she was professor of philosophy at the School of Public Policy, Russian Academy of national Economy and Public Administration in Moscow (2012-2015) and at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (2003-2012), a senior researcher at the Gorky Institute of World Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (1997-2003) where she did both of her PhDs on the US fiction (1994 and 2000). Tlostanova was a DAAD visiting foreign professor at the Institute of Postcolonial and Transcultural Studies at the University of Bremen (Germany) in 2006 and 2011; visiting researcher at the Centre for the Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke University (USA) in 2007-2008; GEXcel visiting scholar at Linköping University in 2013 and at Södertörn University in 2014 (Sweden). She focuses on decolonial thought, postsocialist human condition, artivism, feminisms of the Global South, critical future studies. She has authored twelve scholarly books and 285 articles translated into several languages. Her most recent books include What Does it Mean to be Post-Soviet? Decolonial Art from the Ruins of the Soviet Empire (Duke University Press, 2018), A New Political Imagination. Making the Case (co-authored with Tony Fry Routledge, 2020), Деколониальность знания, бытия и ощущения (Decoloniality of knowledge, being and sensing). Almaty (Kazakhstan): Center of Contemporary Culture Tselinny, 2020 and a co-edited volume (with Redi Koobak and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert) Postcolonial and Postsocialist Dialogues. Intersections, Opacities, Challenges in Feminist Theorizing and Practice. Routledge, 2021.