Week09 Wednesday Feb 15 /Topic: postcolonial and diasporic studies

Flavio Garciandía (Cuba, 1954, lives in Mexico) : The Marco Polo Syndrom,  installation in the 2nd Havanna Biennale, 1986

The problematics of Eurocentrism and the relations amongst different cultures is particularly complex in the contemporary visual arts, where the Marco Polo syndrome embodies a double-edge sword.

Gerardo Mosquera, 1992. The Marco Polo syndrome: Some problems around art and eurocentrism.


Mosquera, G., 1992. The Marco Polo syndrome: Some problems around art and eurocentrism. Third Text, 21, pp. 35 – 41.

[download pdf: mosquera-the-marco-polo-syndrome]

alternative online text by the same author [for those that find the pdf difficult to read]

Mosquera, G., The World of Differences: Notes about art, globalization, and periphery http://universes-in-universe.de/magazin/marco-polo/e-mosquera.htm

included in: The Marco Polo Syndrome- Problems of intercultural communication in art theory and curatorial practice, Internat. symposium, 11/12 April 1995

[if you prefer to read online here is the article, available in the google books version of its publication in Kocur, Z. and Leung, S. eds., 2005. Theory in contemporary art since 1985. Oxford: Blackwell,  pp. 218-225; note that pages 221-222 are not shown in this preview but you can find them in the pdf]

Mercer, K., ed.  2008. Exiles, Diasporas & Strangers. London and Cambridge: Iniva and the MIT Press.

[download pdf: mercer-exile-diaspora-&-strangers-intro


Marco Polo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Polo

Flavio Garciandia, El sindrome de marco polo (The sindrome of Marco Polo) 1986, installation in the Second Biennale de Havana

Gladston, P.2010  Envisioning the Complex ‘Diasporization’ of Contemporary Chinese Art Transit Labour [blog] 15 September, Available at

http://transitlabour.asia/blogs/locating-displacement [Accessed 1o January 2011]

Isaac Julien, Frantz Fanon black skin white mask.Normal Films, 1995.

Black Skin, White Mask – 1/5

Black Skin, White Mask – 2/5

Black Skin, White Mask – 3/5

Black Skin, White Mask – 4/5

Black Skin, White Mask – 5/5

[this video is also available as DVD in the Westminster Reference Library. So if you’d like to view it in advance you may do so Reference only    On Shelf   /Harrow    Video recording    :DVD:3030]

The Imperial Archive: Key Concepts in Postcolonial Studies


Ashcroft, B. Griffiths, G. , Tiffin, H., 2007. Post-colonial studies: the key concepts. N.Y.: Routledge.

in google books; and available as pdf here

Maharaj, S., 1994. Perfidious Fidelity: The Untranslatability of the Other. In J. Fisher ed. Global Visions: Towards a New Internationalism in the Visual Arts. London: Kala Press and the Institute of International Visual Arts, pp. 28-35.

Bhabha, H., 1994. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, pp.139-170. [online]Available at: <http://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/bhabha/dissemination.html>[Accessed 7 October 2010].

Mercer, K. and Bailey, D.A., eds, 1995. Mirage: Enigmas of Race, Difference and Desire. London, London: ICA and the Institute of International Visual Arts. foreword, Gilane Tawadros, Emma Dexter 1995. [Extracts available as pdfs: mirage-enigmas-of-race-difference-desire]

roush, p., 2008, Spaces, visibilities and transcultural flows: diasporic strategies in the local worlds. Lagos: Centro Cultural de Lagos.

session format: Reading seminar

As we discussed in class you don’t need to post about the topic in the blog. Instead focus on reading. We will run the session as a reading seminar. Choose a text (or more) to focus your reading on and prepare your presentation  to the class

Here is some useful info on the format of reading seminar
Prepare your talk.  How should one prepare a talk for a reading seminar?  The most important thing to remember is that you’re all there to learn the material together, not to show off to each other, or to “get it down right” at the seminar.  In general, it’s not a good idea to present anything verbatim from the reading.  Rather than worry about including every detail of a proof, concentrate on getting across the flow of ideas.  Rather than outline a general construction, give examples in some illuminating cases.  Provide additional background information, history, and context.  Your job as speaker is to supplement the reading, not regurgitate it at the seminar.  For example, in one talk I focused on a single commutative diagram (that Milne had left to the reader as an “unfortunately complicated exercise”), which led me to discover a book by Brian Conrad, essentially devoted to this exercise.  Avoid the mental trap of thinking that you need to “cover” all of the material in your reading. Again, your fellow seminar goers will have done the reading, it’s up to you to explain it, tease out the ideas, and enrich everyone’s understanding.

An artist that uses the reading seminar as part of his art practice is Rainer Ganahl
He writes:
“Organizing group readings and discussions  is an integral part of my art practice. I love to read and discuss with  people interested. It is a series of ongoing projects with changing books,  contexts and titles. These Reading seminars can take place with and without  institutional contexts. The books, the places, the people change but the  method is always the same: communal readings and discussions. In most  cases, I read with a given set of books = Portable libraries = or focus  on texts by individual authors. All  these reading sessions are recorded on video. The photographs taken are  part of my art works and to be seen in relationship to my seminar/lecture  works.”


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