THE FIRE NEXT TIME:
Creating and Inventing other relational Possibilities
To create is to resist domination, but it is also, by exhibiting the logic and mechanisms of this domination, we undertake its destruction. Understood not as a simple reversal, an inversion of terms, creativity is not a reproduction in another form of the relations of domination. Instead it undoes the logic of domination, and the patterns and categories that are linked to it. The role of the arts is to create and invent other relational possibilities, other subjectivities, other ways of thinking and living.
Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time gives us a framework of resistance to this domination. We use it here to represent how the role of the arts challenges the societal status quo and imagines other ways of being. This role rearticulates kinship as a form of intimate and proximate relationship that is illuminated by the demands on folk of diverse social, political, economic, ethnic, racial, religious, and gendered communities. Kinship is here neither coercive nor antagonistic, even though creating positive relationships are always under threat. It permits, organizes and makes possible a space of free exchange, debate, contestation, experiment, innovation and lively discourse at the level of collective sovereignty.
The artists in this art exhibition sketch a picture in which the dominated is no longer only a victim. They present their identities as a position from which they can speak and criticize the order of knowledge, since the perspective that they can have as a result of the place where they are located allows them to see what the dominating cannot see. Since art has its own language, they offer a point of view which the dominant is not capable. The Fire Next Time consists of speaking, not repeating the schemas of racial and racist logic, but articulating its dismantling; this being possible only if power is taken — since it is never given, only possessed or forbidden. Creating for these artists is then inseparable from an act of resistance and reinvention of a range of other relational possibilities.