Cross Cultural Contemporary Arts

Research Institute
Director: Irit Rogoff
Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

Translating the Image: Cross-Cultural Contemporary Arts (AHRB) is an interdisciplinary project headed by Professor Irit Rogoff, housed in the Art History/Visual Culture department. The project’s individual research interests cover a wide range of theoretical interests that include but are not exhausted by the following:

  • Cultural Entanglement as a concept that proposes contemporary visual culture as the production of deep cultural entanglements, which cannot be reduced to a single point of origin.
  • Smuggling -in every shape and form- as a discursive vehicle to examine the production of unstable realisms in contemporary Latin American art.
  • The ethics of voicing, listening and touching within contemporary process-based cultural production
  • Transcoding as discursive and technical temporal acts of infinite fragmentation that disrupt the processes of information to introduce new networks of meaning and dissemination.

Within its public work the project has sought to build upon a vast body of work by theorists and artists in both cultural studies and in contemporary visual culture and encompassing the critical analyses of postcolonialism, creolité, cultural difference, minority discourse, diasporic production, gender and sexual difference etc., the research work has begun to articulate 2 major problematics:

  1. Linked Peripheries: the current moment in international exhibition making has been characterised by a celebratory re-mapping of the world as a series of peripheries, which do not have, or operate through, a centre. While the political aims of deposing the centrality of the West as a point of cultural origin are clear, the complex histories of culture’s circulation are getting lost in the process of its dismantling. What is becoming increasingly clear to us is that we need to resist the temptation to determine a conclusive direction for this form of movement. How is it possible then to chart these new relations through a cultural geography that both takes into account the economies and technologies of such circulations but also allows them to establish a more nuanced perception, beyond that of an internationalism inflected by difference or of a gathering of culturally specific practices. In the process it has become clear that we are moving towards working with a model of a culture of singularity (singular to a logic of its own organisation) rather than one of specificity (specific to one particular location).
  2. Cross Cultural Translations: how can we characterise the current moment of emergent culture in the West through the myriad processes of hybridisation, creolisation and cross cultural translation taking place in literature, the arts, theoretical work and cross disciplinary practices. In the effort to maintain some form of fluid cultural intertextuality it is clearly important to establish several dynamics. Some involve a permanent process of un-framing art works and other aspects of visual culture from the contexts of both their making and circulation and towards the complex new entanglements that they produce. Others have to do with rethinking the notion of cultural location away from the state, geography, language or historical civilisations. Yet still others have to do with theorising and articulating a new set of subjects under whose aegis these complex new cultural relations can be discussed, subjects not yet recognised as such within the existing frameworks of organised knowledge.