[-empyre-] network thinking

Selmin Kara selminkara at gmail.com
Sun Nov 24 05:05:32 EST 2013

It is interesting to see that we are still struggling with the relationship
between art and activism here. In my own research about art activist
documentaries and documentation of art activism, I am more troubled by the
documentation aspect of the debate (in relation to the question of whether
documentation tames art activism and occlude its horizon by locating it in
an archival past or not) than putting the two terms together. That said,
David's post about the "binary" of art and activism once again reminded me
of the difficulty of dealing with these terms, although I am not quite sure
if I see the two as antipodal myself. Performance or media art based
activisms to me do not sound like marking new or controversial terrains
(the examples of AIDS activism and feminist video art are poignant) but
talking or writing about them somehow does. How to move beyond the impasse
then? Do the disciplinary histories of art, social change, and
documentation prevent us to articulate them together due to the fact that
they might have conflicts of interest? Or does the articulation itself
impose further limitations on the possibility of a wider network (as David
so eloquently put it: "foreclosing more extended network thinking that
could produce more extensive change in all the terms/nodes comprising the

How to think of a global network (which feeds from artistic, activist, and
documentary practices) without being reductive?
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