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Wednesday 14.12.2016

Call for Participation : Decolonize!

Wet Season Storm Clouds, 2003 by Kevin Shaw, Australia

Art, curating, critical practices in contemporary times
Artegiro Contemporary Art and COCOAA Project


Call for Participation Decolonize Project
Deadline Outline of Proposals
15 January 2017
Final Deadline 15 February 2017

Renata Summo-O'connell

Piazza Australia, 1
15030 Conzano (AL)

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Art, curating and critiquing practices today take place in a world where postcolonial - neocolonial - globalized categories are still present, playing roles that puzzle as well as challenge us.
This state of things in fact generates affiliations and relations between art and curating, art and critique, art and power, art and markets, which are at times new, at times rather trite. In either case these dynamics continue to question notions of colonialism and decolonization and the role of class, race, national culture and violence involved in the resulting struggle for national liberation.
From Fanon to bell hooks to Spivak, to Moreton-Robinson, from Edward Said, Stuart Hall and Homi Bhabha, just to mention only a few inevitable references, the acceleration of the overlapping between communities is such that we are all people "cracked by multiple migrations" ( poet Meena Alexander cited in Decentering the Centers, edited by Uma Narayan and Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press,2000). But this constant overlapping and fast transformation, transforms also ideas about art and its relationship with the world around it.
COCOAA Project has held a forum in May 2016 with a specific focus on this debate and now invites artists, curators, critics, art collectors, scholars, and all interested art industry players to participate in DECOLONIZE! a collective, bold reflection,  to explore multiple visions of contemporary and modern art, to investigate new ways to curate and critique today in what is an increasing complex world.
At times current curatorial practices expose a reluctance to engage with a lingering essentialist nostalgia. Appropriating, exporting and normalizing art from colonial contexts, commodifying it for the international art markets for example is arguably an accepted, unfiltered practice. Curating and critiquing indigenous art of particular historic significance occurs at times not only without seeking a cultural mandate by indigenous people but without the determination to produce events where a new experience of art and artifacts can be performed. These are only some examples of the dynamics we referred to earlier.
Anyone who plays in today's art fields, side by side with so many other players who can come from anywhere in the world, will face interrogatives concerning power relationships as well as agency, essentialist agendas, a tendency to orientalize or exoticize.
We recognize that the nomadic is a navigational tool, not a concept. Discussing dialogical and critical collaborations between artists and curators, contributing to decolonizing critical language and curating will be unavoidable questions as critics / curators of various backgrounds collaborate with artists from various cultures. Such practices in fact require a balanced perspective, not only a recognition of backgrounds but reacquainting with diverse epistemologies, cultural realities.
For this reason with Braidotti and Glissant, COCOAA project banks on the creolization of languages proposing to adopt 'distancing' as a methodology , 'distance' understood as freedom in the relationship with current art language through processes of hybridation that incorporate artist and critical practices.
With DECOLONIZE! we would like to not only promote a substantial reflection but open the way to new directions in international curatorial and collaborative practice.

DECOLONIZE! will be an ebook and online platform
( widely available and disseminated via streetlib, see ) with the following characteristics:

o a rich text, experimenting with various discourse forms and visual inputs (unlike an eBook is not a simple compilation of articles or chapters)
o art is central to this publication as are artists, as authors
o characteristic of both format and content of this publication is the endeavor to produce a conceptual risk-taking and creative text.

Main style characteristics in this publication are:

o a Bergsonian 'quest for the forms ever new'
o a realization that theory takes the form of theatre
o avoiding a sharp choice between literary fiction and scientific styles but striving to experiment
o contributions can be entirely textual or textual and visual or only visual
o written contributions can be substantial, referring to theory but not refraining from incorporating sounds and or images if they are necessary
o text should not go beyond the 4000 words length
o all images should be clear as far as copyright
o Harvard Citation Style (here is your guide, please refer only to this document: