Subject matter
Writing as a racial pharmakon
in Productive failure
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In this chapter, the author explores 'subject matter', often characterized as the polar opposite of form, and turns his attention to works of authors who deploy signifiers that connect broadly to South Asia. It is useful to describe author's own experience of viewing Stephen Dean's artwork at the Whitney Museum of American Art and to further tease out the complex manner in which artistic meaning manifests itself. Stephen Dean's work extracts the physicality of colour from the repetitive structure of cultural ritual. Jacques Derrida notes that in Greek pharmakon 'also means paint, not a natural color but an artificial tint, a chemical dye that imitates the chromatic scale given in nature'. Peripatetic artist Mario Pfeifer's work A Formal Film in Nine Episodes, Prologue & Epilogue also forgoes linearity in favour of the materiality of colour, but relies less on abstraction.

Productive failure

Writing queer transnational South Asian art histories


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