The Anachronic and the Present: Aesthetic Perception and Artistic Concepts of Temporality in the »Black Atlantic«
The research project examines the relevance of aesthetic temporalities in the transcultural »chronotopos« Black Atlantic. It refers in particular to artifacts, artistic works, as well as aesthetic theory concepts and their relational dynamics, their potentialities of time and their agency. The term »Black Atlantic« refers to colonialism and slave trade and the manifold political and cultural relations between the continents of Africa, Europe and the Americas, which are deeply inscribed in a transnational spatial construct. The model focuses on dynamic, cultural networks beyond those nation-state identity politics that have shaped the Western art history so far fundamentally.
The starting point is a new understanding of the so-called »global« contemporary art, which now is to be understood as condensed historical intertwining processes that can replace former static art historical epoch models. Beyond dichotomous racial concepts and their anthropological determined temporality – i.a. expressed in the concept of a »primitive Africa« – it is intended to point out the idiosyncratic, »present« aesthetic potential of artistic objects, artifacts and their relevance to modernity and the contemporary. Furthermore the project should specify the influence of this aesthetic potential on the production of systems of knowledge. Yet the exploration of the medium of the »image/pictorial« and its transcultural agency plays a fundamental role. It should be investigated, in which way pictures/ artifacts and their migratory perception could engender concepts of knowledge in (post)-colonial ethnology, art history and philosophy such as »fetishism« and »totemism«, which took shape not only in the »West«. Rather, it should be asked, in which manner they condensed in »aesthetic regimes« in different areas in the Black Atlantic. Furthermore, its relevance for the history of the disciplines, its methods and aesthetic concepts should be elaborated.
The temporal framing of the project will be provided by the concept of Negritude, which until now has rarely been investigated and developed as aesthetic construction of temporality in the »Black Atlantic« in the 1930s in Paris. The influence of this concept and its transnational »agents« should be examined for the period of decolonization and political »new beginning« of the 1960s, where artistic practices, works of art and artifacts induced »other«, for instance »anachrone« concepts of historicity. Finally, with the deconstruction of Négritude in the 1980s its role should be continuously investigated until the present time in examining its artistic and theoretical implications to decolonize the discipline and its concepts of the picture.