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Panel Discussion: LOCI OF AFFILIATION: The Artist as a producer of Knowledge

Thursday, 12/1 – 7 pm


In fostering new loci of affiliation away from the romantic illusion of pure distance and total autonomy of the artist from society, this conversation engages artists in exploring how their works respond to the issues that currently beset the global community.

How do artists of African descent create modes of intervention no longer predicated upon legitimizations from hegemonic discourses beyond their historical and contemporary experiences? How have they provided counter-narratives of radical autonomy unfazed by merely restating the tacit necessity of the place of art in society”?

The obsolete representation of the artists by the Romantic vision from the 19th century, which assigned them a kind of ethereality, is antithetical to individuals in tune with the realities of their society and dealing with them with their specific language. With the objectives of social transformation, they set to produce questions and emotions, alerts, and sensations. Their creations are an integral part of the production of Knowledge which offers possibilities to bring the artist closer to the intellectual, whose activity is to question the world.

By these means, the conversation brings the artist, the intellectual, and the researcher closer, considering the former as a producer of ideas and Knowledge at a time of need for new impetus for developing a new order for a world that seems to have gone mad. What, then, are the means to be deployed to associate further the artists and their specific abilities within a progressive society?

Confronted with the resurgence of the trivialization of African Diaspora experiences, in fact, the idea of Black art’s intervention in the cultural sphere is both necessary and urgent. At issue, ultimately, is a fundamental difference in the way discourses on Black art are produced as a novelty that has no connection with African descendants’ lives and experiences. Therein, a framing of discourses in generalities that are rooted at the antipode of the Black experience. To attend to these upheavals — political, cultural, economic and ethical — LOCI OF AFFILIATION: The Artist as producer of Knowledge argues for a move beyond outdated “unicentric discourses”, to present productions dedicated to re-inscribing the imbrication of artistic practice in social temporality.

By these means, the conversation brings the artist, the intellectual and the researcher closer, considering the former as a producer of ideas and knowledge at a time of need for new impetus for the development of a new order for humanity. What then are the means to be deployed to further associate the artist and her/his specific abilities with the functioning and permanence of society?

The objective of this conversation is to update a figure of the artist far removed from representations inherited from Romanticism. Indeed, if the artist still occupies a specific place in our societies, s/he is very much in tune with contemporary society. Author using a specific language– the language of her/his artistic discipline – s/he tackles all sorts of questions, seeking in particular to renew our view of current events and available knowledge.

It is then necessary to rethink the artist’s place, role and recognition for the development of Africa and the African Diaspora on the “sharing of knowledge” basis. The conversation will engage questions related to: The Artist and the 21st century, the Place of the Artist in the knowledge society, Can we speak of artistic reasoning? How does an artist work today?