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Transcultural identities and art-making in a globalised world

Migration, understood as the movement of people and cultures, gives impetus to globalisation and the transculturation processes that the interaction between people and cultures entails. This book addresses migration as a profoundly transforming force that has remodelled artistic and art institutional practices across the world. It explores contemporary art's critical engagement with migration and globalisation as a key source for improving our understanding of how these processes transform identities, cultures, institutions and geopolitics. The book also explores three interwoven issues of enduring interest: identity and belonging, institutional visibility and recognition of migrant artists, and the interrelations between aesthetics and politics, and its representations of forced migration. Transculturality indicates a certain quality (of an idea, an object, a self-perception or way of living) which joins a variety of elements indistinguishable as separate sources. The topic of migration is permeated not only with political but also with ethical urgencies. The most telling sign of how profoundly the mobility turn has affected the visual arts is perhaps the spread of the term global art in the discourses on art, where it is often used as a synonym for internationally circulating contemporary art. The book examines interventions by three artists who take a critical de- and postcolonial approach to the institutional structures and spaces of Western museums. The book also looks at the politics of representation, and particularly the question of how aesthetics, politics and ethics can be triangulated and balanced when artists seek to make visible the conditions of irregular migration.

Migrant geographies and European politics of irregular migration Globalisation is frequently thought to cause an unbounded movement of capital, people, information, culture and goods. However, there is an often neglected flip side to this globalised mobility: the increased international collaboration on border controls aimed at restricting the movements of people who have been forced to migrate because of war, destitution, persecution or environmental reasons. This securitisation of borders constructs categories of included and excluded populations; and the

in Migration into art

Mining the museum in an age of migration Migratory aesthetics and artists with a migrant background can have various points of entry into museums, galleries and collections. The genre of artists’ interventions is one of the most important in this regard because of its critical, transformative and bridge-building potential. After a brief introduction to the practice, this chapter examines interventions by three artists, Fred Wilson, Yinka Shonibare and Rina Banerjee, who all take a critical de- and postcolonial approach to the institutional structures and spaces

in Migration into art
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Introduction This study is based on the premise that in an increasingly globalised world, mobility and cultural contacts are both common aspects of everyday life and complicating factors with respect to national, regional, cultural and communal identities and notions of belonging. Millions of people are migrating, and even those who have never left their homeland are affected by the restlessness of our contemporary world.1 Paul Virilio has pinpointed the urgency and enormous consequences of recent migration: A billion people moving over half a century – that

in Migration into art

Globalisation-from-above and globalisation-from-below The relationship between globalisation and migration is complex, in terms of both history and theory; so also are the interrelations between the discourses on globalisation and migration and the artistic phenomena that the Introduction subsumed under the categories of global art and migratory aesthetics. This chapter seeks to draw up an outline of how ‘globalisation’ and ‘migration’ have been articulated in Western discussions of contemporary art since the 1990s, and how the two discourses intersect. The

in Migration into art
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art is one of those resources, and an important and profound one, which is why I began this book by invoking Marsha Meskimmon’s idea of writing with art instead of about art. I have sought to develop an understanding of the problematics and transformative workings of migration and globalisation through contemporary art. This has required a two-tier argumentation, with one level addressing the question of what the work (or the artist) can tell us about the historical, social and cultural effects of migration and globalisation, and the other Conclusion s­ eeking

in Migration into art

configured in distinctive ways by the specific conditions and histories of each art-producing locality. Thus, he acknowledges that the hegemonic notions of what it is for art to be ‘con-temporary’ (i.e. with time, meaning up to date, modern and vanguard) are determined by temporal and geographical differences. Moreover, these differences constitute a classificatory framework within which some forms of art are recognised as ‘contemporary’ while others are dismissed (as belated, provincial or ‘minor’).5 In Smith’s understanding, ‘the widespread art of 3 86 Migration into

in Migration into art

problems of demobilisation, veterans’ discontent, industrial regeneration and chronic unemployment. Moreover, the failure of the British government to launch a successful domestic colonisation scheme also had a direct bearing on the implementation of this empire migration project. The outbreak of war effectively ended imperial migration for the next five years. ‘Of course everything here is all war and

in Unfit for heroes

2 The politics of identity and recognition in the ‘global art world’ Identity politics informed by postcolonial critique dominated the discourses on the interrelations of globalisation, migration and contemporary art in the 1990s and the early 2000s. The previous chapter characterised the position from which the struggle for recognition of non-Western artists was launched, designating it the postcolonial position, in contradistinction to the migratory aesthetics position that gathered momentum in the 2000s. This second chapter examines the historical role and

in Migration into art

encompasses more than belonging, because not all the narratives, i.e. the ‘stories people tell themselves and others about who they are (and who they are not)’, are about belonging to particular groups or communities; they can also relate to body images, vocational aspirations and individual attributes. Nevertheless, belonging is an important component in the production of identity, because collective identity narratives often act as a resource for individual narratives, and because 143 144 Migration into art both individual and collective narratives provide people

in Migration into art