Discourse of Display / Display of Discourse

The translate project continues its discussion on ‘visuality’ with the upcoming conference Another Visuality. The Discourse of Display / The Display of Discourse. This is the third part of a seminar which discussed the hypothesis of a possible relational paradigm as a critique of the representational paradigm at the centre of museum activity, that is to say, a paradigm that hierarchises the museum’s public activity around the visual, with the exhibition as the central element. – As this is stated within the announcement text it certainly has to be seen as belonging within a paradigm shift which has been initiated by the discourses around minority issues and postcolonial politics. But it can as well be understood as a logical consequence of the questioning of Eurocentrism and a necessary analysis of the occuring uncertainities in western self-conception. The mirror gaze which has for too long been used by the West to define itself, has been reflecting a self-conceived construction. So to discuss culture on display, is to go to the kernel of the establishment of perception and its impact on visuality.
So if I had a chance to be in Barcelona I definitly would go…..

… The exhibition is an instrument for public visibility based on a notion of universal access that presupposes a rational, autonomous subject, understood in the ideal terms expressed by Habermas in his studies of modern public opinion. This is a subject that seems beyond conditions of gender, class or race, one that corresponds to no specific reality (although, in fact, the condition of male, cultured, middle-class, Central European bourgeois subject is implicit). The rise of minority discourses and post-colonial theory in the second half of the 20th century is linked to the historic emergence of an explosion of subjectivities, discourses and practices that experiment with and theorise about processes of subjectivisation that liquidate the old universal modern subject and incarnate it in specific bodies that live in specific circumstances. This process dismantles the notion of universal knowledge and the visual paradigm that is implicit in forms of public circulation used by discourses, generating new ways of fighting for visibility and representation. These public forms of representation, amongst which the exhibition is the most outstanding exponent, appear from now on as a space of conflict and negotiation. In such a context, the centrality of that the paradigm of modern visuality occupies needs to be questioned. … (link)
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