synthesizing interstitial spaces

The works of the inflatables by A. Rewakowicz posted here brought up the term of cultural displacement and just these days I came across the recent article of Darko Suvin on Displaced Persons in New Left Review where he is more specificly looking into the subject of exiles, èmigrés, expatriates and refugees, as well as at the marks this status leaves and the impact it has on creative habits.

The short abstract in the beginning proposes an examination of the condition of the modern artist and re-define the analysis through the term of ‘border intellectuals’. Eventhough his understanding of the exiled status tries to find a connecting habitus within the specifications he sets up Suvin carefully distinguishes between the dissociation critical writing / thinking demands and the various circumstances / conditions of a dislocation in space – starting from expatriates to exiles.
Defining the metaphor of an intellectual as highly ambiguous – partly to be interpreted in a Brechtian sense of ‘estrangement / Entfremdung’ necessary to see things ‘as they have come to be that way: contingent, not inevitable . . . the result of a series of historical choices made by human beings‘ leading to E.Said’s words:‘ … energies whose incarnation is today the migrant, and whose consciousness is that of the intellectual and the artist in exile, the political figure between domains, between forms, between homes, and between languages.’ as the turn into a creative form. Yet still he keeps in mind ‘the winterly’ layers inherent to the position and pointing to the forcing controls of political (equivalent to economical) powers. (link to NLR)

In rethinking developments within the local and the global, concerning both border intellectuals as crossing barriers far ahead, but as well in general regards, the shift towards the interstice still seems to be the place necessary to discover the unevenness of the surface.
From the interstitial spaces marked by the processual arise “the minority discourses that speak betwixt and between times and places”. (link to

The following excerpts are coming from Suvin’s text … speaking directly and as metaphors …

‘The subjectivity or interiority of the immigrant or exile is formed and informed by the totality of her or his “home” culture. When individuals go to a new society, they experience a major gap between the alien culture and the self (in)formed elsewhere: collective and individual subjects no longer coincide’

It is usually an ‘essential sadness [that] can never be surmounted’; immigrants ‘feel their difference (even as they frequently exploit it) as a kind of orphanhood’- though it may be palliated in cases of more fortunate insertion into S. [13] Essentially, an immigrant has two choices: either Said’s ‘solitude experienced outside the group’, or cocooning inside a small collectivity of landsmen, speakers of the pre-displacement language. The latter is less common with exiles (who are often both more arrogant and better able to fend for themselves), except in cases of politicians plotting their return within a small group. But both choices have a huge psychic cost, evident in solitude but just as high – if different – in an enforced clinging to patriarchal pieties from O. Immigrants are constantly threatened with the fate Aristotle allotted to those not belonging to the polis: to mimic either gods or beasts.

As Freud’s pun has it, those who are without a Heim are unheimlich: for the comfortably settled burgher, there is something ‘uncanny’ about the homeless and transient.

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