all right so um you should have read bell hooks’s choosing the margin as a space of radical openness before watching this um but i do just want to walk through some of the key uh elements of this essay that i think might be useful to highlight i hope as you read this that you really were able to connect some of these ideas about marginality about space about sort of oppositional political struggle as she calls it um to things we’ve done in this class already um i’m not going to bring those up here but i do think that uh that a lot of of how she’s speaking about things like silences uh unaddressed places within personal political artistic evolutions um thinking about speaking through uh speaking through pain and uh and suffering uh but also looking for ways to to transform that and to uh and to not just let that become the thing that um that dominates the entire conversation or dominates how we speak to one another and how we speak through our own practice um and uh and so i think that her kind of mode of defiance even um is one that is one that a number of the artists that we’ve looked at in this class uh would be very sort of impacted by and um bell hooks is writing this essay in 1989 um so it’s a you know quite a i guess old older essay now uh but one that nonetheless in rereading it myself this week i found out extremely uh relevant to how we’re uh how we think about sort of politics and uh and culture and identity and thinking about um the role of those sort of outside of the uh uh outside of the not the mainstream right but those who see themselves in in broken dispersed decolonialized uh frameworks and finding a voice within within those spaces but confronting larger institutions again this is uh bell hooks really speaking to how a person um such as herself is able to speak within uh within a structure or a system that has been oppressive that has been the colonizer so to speak um do you opt out completely and and just fight against that or do you try to find space to speak within that role within that institution within that structure um and that’s that’s sort of the major question that uh that she’s asking here um and so i’ll just walk through some uh some of the passages and speak speak about what i think um bell hooks is getting at in this uh in this essay um so again i think i always do this when i assign your reading but the opening sentence here i think presents a lot of what a lot of what i i just presented in the little intro here so um she writes as a radical standpoint perspective position the politics of location necessarily calls those of us who would participate in the formation of counter-hegemonic cultural practice to identify the spaces where we begin the process of revision and i think she ends that paragraph saying language is also a place of struggle so so right here we have a sort of direct call saying that if we’re going to talk about location and we’re going to say we’re perfor we’re working against hegemony right against kind of systems of power or control within cultural practice then we need to identify a space of revision and i think that’s a really interesting uh interesting word a process of revision that something has already been written that there’s already a language in place that needs to be revised right this isn’t necessarily about creating an entirely new thing ex nilo out of nothing right this is about working within a language that we may already have and finding a way to revise it and to uh and to speak and tran uh transform it in order for it to be operational for it to be uh radical um for it to to participate effectively um so she goes on uh later um i’m sort of this i think these are kind of chronological but uh but i think this is in the second section uh where she says there is an effort to remember that is expressive of the need to create spaces where one is able to redeem and reclaim the past legacies of pain suffering and triumph in ways that transform present reality right so i think here an effort to remember in some ways she’s framing this about the past about remembering what happened remembering legacies that we might uh might rather forget but using those reclaiming them to transform present reality so thinking again about space and location i heard the statement our struggle is also a struggle of memory against forgetting she cites this statement that was used in the freedom charter which was fighting against racial apartheid in south africa um our struggle is also a struggle of memory against forgetting a politicization of memory that distinguishes nostalgia that longing for something to be as it once was as a kind of useless act and that remembering serves to illuminate and transform the present so this isn’t just about a nostalgic longing for something as it was right this isn’t just a recovery um of a past right like that’s not it’s not that simple right for her that’s an empty useless politics one that isn’t even about memory right you might remember it but you just want it as it was there’s nothing that’s uh that’s transforming or bringing it to you in the present um so instead this kind of mem remembering uh serves to illuminate and transform the present and the artists will look at in the module for the rest of this week i think all all really speak to all speak to this quite directly um and then there’s this context of home or where uh maybe where you’re speaking from or who you’re speaking to even she writes i had to leave that space i called home to move beyond boundaries yet i needed also to return there indeed the very meaning of home changes with the experience of decolonization of radicalization at times home is nowhere at times one knows only extreme estrangement and alienation then home is no longer just one place it is locations plural one confronts and accepts dispersal fragmentation as a part of the construction of a new world order that reveals more fully where we are who we can become an order that does not demand forgetting so in this sense this transformation of home right this place that you would say you you return to a place of safety uh perhaps is fundamentally altered because here home is potentially nowhere and it’s not about comfort and safety but perhaps about estrangement and alienation and dispersal but what do you do with that right i think that’s what uh bell hooks is kind of uh saying like what do we do do we accept dispersal and fragmentation and fall into solipsism and nihilism or do we construct a new world order that reveals more fully where we are even if you’re dispersed even if it’s not defined singularly more reveals more fully where we are and who we can become an order that does not demand forgetting um she goes on again speaking about the particular case of this right because i think oftentimes we can read this we and and all feel comforted uh but i think hook’s uh bell hooks is not letting uh not letting the sort of dominant white culture off the hook here at all right this isn’t just about a comforting uh a comforting system where we all where we all get along right that’s not how she’s conceiving of marginality and that’s important to to recognize again thinking of my my own position within this so she writes black folks coming from poor underclass communities who enter universities or privileged cultural settings unwilling to surrender every vestige of who we were before we were there all sign of our class and cultural difference who are unwilling to play the role of the exotic other must create spaces within that culture of domination if we are if we are to survive whole our souls intact our very presence is a disruption so this is where she really critiquing these uh universities privileged cultural settings um where she’s saying if you’re not if if you didn’t follow the quote she’s saying that basically what these places typically want black folks from poor underclass communities to do is to surrender who they were before they got there to remove their class and cultural difference to play this role of the exotic other right this sort of othering system within within privileged cultural spheres she’s saying right and arguing that speaking from the margin means you retain that that you’re unwilling to surrender that sign of who you were before you got into this this is actively against the idea of assimilation this is not saying you go in and you assimilate and you just follow along and you become the other right it’s saying that you work against that from the margin but at the same time you create a space within that culture of domination and she still calls it a culture of domination that’s strong language um but uh but for uh for her she really wants to find a language within that system within that culture uh that allows uh that allows this this kind of transformation so that so that as she says we speaking of black folks from poor underclass communities uh uh survive as whole their souls intact that you don’t have to tran you don’t have to uh completely alter who you were right you don’t have to alter who we were in order to fit a certain kind of model um and so i think that this is a really important a really important demand and question and one that uh for for where she’s writing you know i think she acknowledges she’s often writing for for uh white audiences or sort of um uh hegemonic institutionally powerful audiences um but there there’s a way that this has to still cause a disruption so i’ll try to move more quickly here um she sort of ends and comes around speaking about about community uh this is following up and what on what i said previously in the last slide those of us who live who make it passionately holding on to aspects of that down-home life we did not intend to lose while simultaneously seeking new knowledge and experience invent spaces of radical openness without such spaces we would not survive for me this space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary it is not a safe place one is always at risk one needs a community of resistance so again she’s speaking of sort of colonized subjects within colonizer institutions if you want to follow uh that language uh but speaking to those who do make it who hold on to the aspects of the previous life while also seeking new knowledge and experiences and that that tension right between the center and the margin if you’re speaking from the margin in fact allows for the invention of a radically open space and one that isn’t safe and one that is challenging and one that is a community of resistance rather than one of assimilation uh and then finally here um i think that this is towards the the end of the essay where again i think you get a direct kind of confrontation on on on uh people in power within these within predominantly wide institutions who sort of set ideas of margins uh or create this dialogue of the other within within these spaces so she writes they say the discourse on marginality on differences has moved beyond a discussion of us and them this they uh she’s speaking to those in power at these uh the places the kind of again the colonizer uh if you want though again she’s she’s trying to get out of that language a little bit i think but they say the discourse on marginality on differences has moved beyond a discussion of us and them they do not speak of how this movement has taken place this is her being very critical of that um of that statement so speaking on her for herself i am waiting for them to stop talking about the other to stop even describing how important it is to be able to speak about difference it is not just important what we speak about but how and why we speak this we is that us in the margins that we who inhabit marginal space that is not a site of domination but a place of resistance enter that space um so she is defining a new we here uh as a we who inhabits the marginal spaces as a place of resistance who refutes um these kinds of conversations of uh of just uh speaking about difference and saying more what is operational what is operative how and why we speak is what matters and she does uh present ways for people who are in this they to accept that right uh to speak of how this movement has taken place not just talk about it but speak about how and why you’re speaking from the position you’re speaking from so um i hope that that hasn’t been too abstract i think that there are a lot of connections to a lot of material from uh from class here and we’ll look at a few examples today that i think um that i think speak to that speak to this uh but they don’t just speak about it maybe their works and the artworks themselves investigate this how and why you’re speaking from the position that you’re speaking from uh and that changes depending on the artist and their age and and where where they come from themselves right but but those spaces are are nonetheless incredibly important to to sort of carve out and to think about how they can be inhabited um how they can be inhabited by artists by by artworks uh and how we as as artists or or thinkers or whatever can maybe start to inhabit that or move towards a way of of being in that space of entering that space as bell hooks challenges us to do