The move to diversify art historical narratives is often accompanied by a search for commonalities. Instead addressing a need to acknowledge radical difference and untranslatability, each presenter in this panel approached the question of the incommensurable, interrogating tensions between a global approach and site-specific study. Natalia Brizuela discusses three indigenous visual and textual productions and their relation to traditional art spaces; Victoria Collis-Buthelezi addresses the potential untranslatability of blackness across languages; Tímea Junghaus offers a decolonial approach to the archive with regards to Roma art production; and Harsha Ram discusses the “discovery” of the 20th-century Georgian painter, Niko Pirosmani, by the Russian avant-garde.
The discussion raises contemporary questions of restitution of cultural property taken during periods of colonial expansion.
In the keynote lecture, Zdenka Badovinac introduces her concept of the “sustainable museum,” and explores possible translocal approaches to exhibition practice from the so-called periphery, nevertheless situated within the neoliberal global network of art museums and biennials.
A key contradiction of globalization is its facilitation of the movement of goods while the movement of people is increasingly restricted. Furthering this tendency, biometric technologies have expanded the traditional notion of the border, regulating the circulation of gendered, racialized, and classed bodies.