“To think without passion is to make coffins for ideas;to act without passion is to fill the coffins” Boaventura De Sousa Santos
This seminar is inspired by the figure of the revolutionary with no papers developed by De Sousa Santos in his book and aims to measure the negative impact of populism and nationalism in the development of artistic practices and their methodologies. Without romanticizing nomadism and (forced) migrations, the seminar aims to question them in their own material reality as far they clash with institutionalized politics of legal visas. From this perspective the seminar explores an analogy with the aesthetics governance and symbolic visas active in the field of contemporary artistic research and it is articulated in three sessions, each aiming to address a specific element of the conceptual field of More Than This though the lenses of other concepts: Hospitality as a break from methodological nationalism; Displacement as a form of epistemic disobedience; and Complexity as a form of ecology of practices.
In his book “Epistemologies of the South. Justice against Epistemicide” (2014), Boaventura De Sousa Santos affirms that “the understanding of the world by far exceeds the Western understanding of the world” and that there will be no “global social justice without global cognitive justice”.
For De Sousa Santos, cognitive justice corresponds to a form of redistribution of importance among knowing practices sustained by an emancipatory transformation that “may follow grammars and scripts other than those developed by Western-centric critical theory” coming from Global South(s) and from what he calls Subaltern Wests. These epistemologies are “ways of knowing developed by social groups as part of their resistance against the systematic injustices and oppressions caused by capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy and all their satellite-oppressions. Cognitive justice also urges us to consider Western modernity without caricatures, taking into account the “complexity and internal diversity of this social, political, and cultural paradigm [..] and the very complex set of phenomena in which dominant and subaltern perspectives coexist and constitute rival modernities”.
Cognitive justice emerges then as a mirror of social justice and acknowledges “a need for creating a distance in relation to Western-centric political imagination […] valorizing non-Eurocentric conceptions of emancipation or liberation” but also “proposing counter-hegemonic understandings and uses of Eurocentric concepts”. These forces of resistance allow knowledge to fly “at low altitude” because it locate it and stuck it to the body: to think is then to feel- think and and to feel - act.