Hypatia Vourloumis and Mirwan Andan ~ intraACTION transCOLONIALISM ~ INTRODUCTION `FULL TEXT

The true leap, Fanon wrote at the end of his Black Skins, White Masks, consists in introducing invention into existence. (Sylvia Wynter, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom” - 331)

Existence is not an individual affair. Individuals do not preexist their interactions; rather, individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating. Which is not to say that emergence happens once and for all, as an event or as a process that takes place according to some external measure of space and of time, but rather that time and space, like matter and meaning, come into existence, are iteratively reconfigured through each intra-action… (Karen Barad, "Meeting the Universe Halfway" -1)



Through the time and space, matters and meanings reconfigured in our gathering, this sixth roaming assembly will intra-act with and from within the current edition of Sonsbeek art festival located in Arnhem, curated by Indonesian Jakarta-based art collective ruangrupa. Their curatorial notion, theme and practices of “trans-action” converse here with Karen Barad’s notion of “intra-action” (beings, actions, entities do not exist before/outside relation) and generates a neologism such as “trans-colonialism” as a way to think through the entanglement that is colonialism and coloniality; entanglements of ongoing duress and performativity of measurement, culture, meaning but also of matter, “ghostly matters,” in Avery Gordon’s words, or, “imperial debris and durabilities” in Ann Laura Stoler’s.

Assembling in artist Richard Bell’s Aboriginal Embassy – (“Aboriginal Art – It’s a White Thing”) we will ask: “How do colonial histories matter to the urgencies and conditions of our current world? How have those histories so often been rendered as leftovers, as "legacies" of a dead past rather than as active and violating forces in the world today?” (Stoler 2016). We will think why and how coloniality matters as matter in the present, the relationship between meaning and materiality, why “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house (Audre Lorde), and the practice and potentiality of new materialisms and agencies: the art of invention in existence and the invention of existence as art.

As part of the festival transAction the symposium’s intra--action here extends from prefixes such as anti-or post-(colonial) so as to play with the multiple meanings and matters of trans- where, according to dictionary.com, the first four definitions of the prefix are:

1.a prefix occurring in loanwords from Latin ( transcend; transfix); on this model, 

used with the meanings “across,” “beyond,”  “through,”“changing thoroughly,

” “transverse,” in combination with elements of any origin:

transisthmian; trans-Siberian; transempirical; transvalue.

2.Chemistry. a prefix denoting a geometric isomer having a pair of identical atoms or groups on 

the opposite sides of two atoms linked by a double bond.

3.Astronomy. a prefix denoting something farther from the sun (than a given planet):

trans-Martian; trans-Neptunian.

4.prefix meaning “on the other side of,” referring to the misalignment of one’s gender identity 

with one's biological sex assigned at   birth:

transgender; transsexual.

The roaming assembly intraAction: Transcolonialism is interested in thinking through and pushing for a decolonial practice which transverses, moves across, beyond, through, (desiring a thorough change of) global capital’s categories, systems of classification, control and management, and its ceaseless expropriation through transferring, translating, transmutating renewed cycles of accumulation, appropriation and exploitation (definition 1) We will seek to grapple with coloniality’s linking through double bonds, doublnesses (Dubois) and the twinning that is epistemic racism/sexism (definition 2). We are inspired by how in astronomy trans- means something further from the sun: to think of such a beyond, beyond the center of our universe in relation to the west as center of empire (as legitimate center, institution, origin and canon of discourse, thinking, political economy, normalization and what counts as life). And we are always and already in “the there and then of queer futurity” (José Muñoz), the queering of matter and meaning as ideality and practice (def.4) where like trans- the root word of queer is quer (from old German) which means off-center but also to move across. 

This assembly will try to move across and go “off”, de-center and get off an order of things, we will seek to body forth epistemic, art making, worded, sonic disobedience. What times and spaces, matters and meanings can our entangled agencies and praxes generate through an experimental decolonial struggle from within the entanglement that is our past, present, future? What does a decolonizing practice/thought look like, read like, sound like, feel like or does this matter and are these questions colonizing ones? In a seeking to delink from and dislodge imperial inheritances how can we in our ephemeral intra-actions begin to poetically think and artfully invent ways which turn towards Sylvia Wynter’s notion of the praxes of being human as conditions of possibility for other futures?

About Hypatia Vourloumis

About Mirwan Andan