Archipelago Mountain: Topographies of alternative imaginaries

Tuesday 11.12.2018
Venue: Exhibition Laboratory gallery (Merimiehenkatu 36, Helsinki)

Hosts: Stephanie Misa, Doctoral student, University of the Arts Helsinki and Ana de Almeida, doctoral student, Academy of Fine Arts of Vienna

ARCHIPELAGO MOUNTAIN is an exercise in re-placement. An archipelago: a group of islands that lends its topography to ideas of evolution, inter-connectedness, diaspora and change; dispelling the pervasive idea of a nationalistic “wholeness”.

ARCHIPELAGO MOUNTAIN presents a weaving, a mapping, a tracing of complex relations. Edouard Glissant’s Traité du Tout-Monde calls it archipelagic thinking— a reassessment of the insularity of bound cultures, of nation-states, and the heaviness of “continental thought”. The archipelago is an alternative imaginary, one that posits that identity could be as a conglomeration of islands. Which other topographies lend themselves to re-imagining a language better able to articulate the decolonial present?



9:20 Ana de Almeida and Stephanie Misa: Introduction

9:30 Ana de Almeida and Stephanie Misa: Untitled (Yellow)

Untitled (Yellow) is a performance lecture: a re-reading of a mixed tape that sustains a correspondence between the two artists. It consists of the production of a temporal trace (an image, a song, or an object) that narrates one of the spaces that one (currently) “is” in. What is produced are artefacts of projection and desire (appropriated, created, disfigured, and chosen), they can represent geographic places, but also live on a fictional, hybrid or even barely composed planes. States of mind, become places, and relations between body and space are mapped and noted. “Where am I?” can state positioning through desire or protest, while the subject places itself, as a political body, or as a projection.

10:30 Break

11:00 Christina Kullberg: Édouard Glissant and the Materiality of Language(s)

This talk critically explores how Martinican writer and thinker Édouard Glissant develops a profoundly material conception of language that emerges in the tensions between two competing aesthetic models: the first one, which dominates the earlier years, is deeply rooted in French modernist discourse and is articulated under the sign of Stéphane Mallarmé whereas the second, which is also present from the beginning, but blooms with Poétique de la Relation in 1991, is rooted in the history of colonization as well as in European early modern aesthetic: the baroque. This materiality of languages, I argue, draws his literature and thinking towards other forms of expression, notably art, and is at the core of his poetics and politics of Relation.

12:00 LUNCH (Not included)

13:00 Daniil Aronson: Political Imagination and the Imagery of the Liquid in Some Russian Revolutionary Poetry

According to Kant, one could only think objects through spatial analogies. For him, imagination as such was spatialization, and the former was the very precondition of thinking. Whether or not this idea was metaphysically or psychologically viable, it turned out quite an accurate depiction of the way the self-representation of the nation-state worked. The nation-state could only exist insofar as it represented itself as a delimited spatial unity. In this sense, contrary to Kant’s own claim, his theory pertained not to the faculty of imagination in general, but only to the imagination of the modern nation-state. Historically, different political entities, such as church or empire, relied far less on spatial images in their self-representation. One can see this in the relatively big role that their iconography allotted to various water-related images, which exemplify what I call ‘the imagery of the liquid’. What is characteristic of the imagery of the liquid is that it tends to loosen the tie between imagination and spatiality. In its most intensified forms, such as those found in the revolutionary pieces by the Russian Modernist poet Sergei Yesenin, the imagery of the liquid renders spatiality not just subordinate but right away pernicious. The paper will discuss the possibility of the utterly un-Kantian non-spatial imagination, implied by such radical use of the imagery of the liquid.

14:00 Break
           Performance by Other Spaces Collective at Jaakko Ruuska’s Installation in the gallery (10 min.)

14:30 Skin Lands: workshop with Alicja Rogalska

"The human body is the first landscape we encounter and explore" John Douglas Porteus (Body, Language, and Mind, Vol II: Sociocultural situatedness, edited by Tom Ziemke, René Dirven, Jordan Zlatev, Roslyn M. Frank, Enrique Bernárdez).

The workshop will be a practical, collaborative exploration of the body and its political histories, affects and memories. How do politics, work and gender experiences make marks on our bodies, how do we make marks on our own bodies and how do we make marks on each other? We will consider bodies as sites of both oppression and resistance in the context of metaphorical use of body imagery in politics and contemporary art.

Please sign up to work shop via e-mail to Stephanie Misa,

16:00 COFFEE

16:30 Skin Lands: workshop with Alicja Rogalska

17:30–18:00 Discussion