Goldsmiths Digital Studios Feedback

28 02 2011

Today’s fortnightly meeting was a planned discussion around a text I chose by Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities. There was a modest turn out today and I am assuming it was because of a conflicting colloquium at the Memorial Scrolls Trust  Museum in which a few of my colleagues were making presentations around the topic Between Narrative and Embodiment: Materializing Identity. The discussion  turned out to be quite focused on the development of my work and was in effect a follow up, feedback dialogue around the project presentation I made last week at the GDS.  Thank you Janis, Anastaious and EunJoo for the insightful feedback and direction. Essentially, two major points emerged from our discussions. The first was a change in approach to the argument of my thesis and second was a slight revisiting of my proposed Literature Review.

I now feel I want to revamp my current thesis argument which operates in an ‘us’ versus ‘them’, ‘inside/outside’ logic. Granted this has been a well researched post-colonial argument from E. Said to G. Spivak but things are changing and even theorists like Spivak are acknowledging the other facets of the argument in her revisiting of the subalten through an analysis of the identity-less notion of Asia in Other Asias. It would serve me better to shift my emphasis away from the binary argument that the traditional art canon has gaps that need filling (ie. work from the Philippines, its diaspora and the Global South). As Janis put it, we all know there are gaps, it has been clearly pointed out over the last few decades of post-colonial and feminist critique but at this point who cares? It’s their loss!

The point she is making is that the ‘centre’ as a point from where others may find themselves on the periphery is invented. There actually is no single centre, only networks and connections. It is from this logic that I can make a more dynamic argument by developing or showing the existence of an alternate equally viable and valid centre. Other texts and theoretical directions recommended to me today include theories from Said (Imagined Geographies) and Hobsbawm (Invented Traditions) in relation to Anderson (Imagined Communities) and Rushkoff (Open Source Democracy). For this I will most likely revamp my Literature Review to place less emphasis on a binary argument that actually validates an exclusionary hegemonic centre, traditional ‘hi-art’, which after the last Thursday Club Meeting and discussion with Christaine Paul clearly is delegating New Media Art from even the ‘First World’ to a periphery status as well.

In concrete terms, I will start by establishing my personal position to my research. Much like the some of the writings of Mandan Sarap, I feel it is important to contextualize my position as a Philippine-Canadian artist. This is particularly relevant in describing by visit to the Archives in Seville and it’s subsequent significance to my art practice and research. In the description of my research trip I hope to sift out all the poetry and random memories that were triggered by being in Spain’s colonial capital and seeing the first ever drawing of the Philippines.

Ultimately over the next few weeks I must write, write, write! One must start with bricks before thinking of building a castle… in this case, given the fact that I am planning an extended visit to Canada which means an international move, I would be happy with a well constructed nipa hut.

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