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Tag: Dictionary of Now

Sometimes words do what they want, and no one knows this better than Herta Müller. For decades the Nobel Laureate for Literature has explored the recalcitrance and permeability of language. In the coming edition of the talk series “Dictionary of Now”, together with the writer Marcel Beyer, she discusses when language becomes an expression of resistance and when an instrument of the exercise of power. On this occasion, we reproduce here a text from an anthology of the literary magazine Akzente. To article...

Where does tolerance and Laissez-faire end? When do silence and omissions become violence? The writer Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor summarizes positions by writer Taiye Selasi, cultural theorist Theo Goldberg and historian Achille Mbembe and sketches a range of social phenomena against the background of an increased potential for violence. To article...

In contemporary societies the production of fear often serves as a political strategy designed to legitimize and ultimately normalize states of emergency. The writer Sinan Antoon on the phenomenon “Flying while Muslim”, structural Islamophobia in the USA, and the global interconnections of fear, terror, and trauma. To article...

Men are power, children mean power. Taiye Selasi, celebrated author of “Ghana Must Go”, opens up glimpses into inescapable gender hierarchies. Through the eyes of an 11-year-old girl “The Sex Lives of African Girls” tells the story of a fateful day in a village in Accra, on which male dominance unfolds in all its harshness, the more so as it is supported by women. The girl Edem has no mother, her auntie Khadijeh can’t have children of her own, both don’t stand a chance: “In the peculiar hierarchy of African households the only rung lower than a motherless child is a childless mother.” An excerpt from this story accompanying the Violence edition of the Dictionary of Now. To article...

How should today’s European societies deal with the damage of the colonial era? With the consequences of the destruction of places, bodies, and identities? And what forms of “reparation” for contemporary injustices would be appropriate? Within the framework of the event BODY the artist Kader Attia and the philosopher Françoise Vergès addressed old and new collective wounds, amputations and their associated phantom pain. Hannah Gregory attended the film and discussion evening for the journal and discusses here their complementary positions. To article...

The Ethnological Museum’s time in Dahlem is coming to an end, its move into the Humboldt Forum is imminent. A theme evening organized by HKW with lectures and a concluding discussion in the museum addressed one of the core questions of museology: The complexity of the term thing. Museal things are removed from their original context, their “migration history” takes them to different locations, establishing new relationships. The media theorist Arjun Appadurai, the cultural theorist Tony Bennett, and the museologist Sharon MacDonald went in search of alternative ideas of things. They explored the protagonists and circumstances of migration, placing migrating objects in relation to migrating people, juxtaposing the immutability of objects with the mutability of their meaning. Ana Teixeira Pinto listened in and has drawn her own conclusions. To article...

Artist Kader Attia – observes the film maker and composer Manthia Diawara – has a special gift: He can talk about alterity and the traumas caused by the colonial “Other” without lapsing into antagonisms. Attia’s “Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures” provides a clear demonstration of this. The work shows familiar looking masks and sculptures from Africa and Europe, all of which are damaged and disfigured and in need of repair. Perhaps it is the trauma that Attia alludes to which generates a sense of commonality: The shared longing to be restored, to be repaired. The carnage of modernity – the guilt of colonialism and the First World War – is the starting point for the relationship between the self and the “Other”. Even if they are only relationships between damaged identities which Attia so emphatically postulates in his work. To article...

What happens to objects, to things, in a museum? In his essay “Civic Laboratories”, published in 2005, the English cultural and social theorist Tony Bennett examined the simultaneous mutability and immutability of objects in museum contexts. To this end he focused on questions of identity formation, taking his readers on a journey from European theory and Baldwin Spencer’s staging of Aborigines in Australian museums to Franz Boas’s life groups at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. How do objects change as a result of their embedding in different regimes of objecthood? What forms of interiority do they trigger in the observing subject? And what forms do they require? To article...

Does truth exist? And do we still need it? Taking the concept of Négritude as their point of departure Nobel laureate in literature Wole Soyinka and film theorist Manthia Diawara talked about a universal idea and it’s relevance today. A short survey of edition #3 of the Dictionary of Now. To article...

In the second edition of the Dictionary of Now Eyal Weizman, architect turned intellectual activist, meets social historian Dipesh Chakrabarty to talk about the FORUM. Vague concepts of morality are useless in dealing with climate change. An efficient FORUM, as Chakrabarty maintains, needs to take up a planetary perspective. To article...