Academic Session 25: RCA 2014

40th Anniversary Conference & Bookfair
Royal College of Art
London 10 - 12 April 2014

New World Systems? Reassessing the Transnational Traffic of Art


Anthony Gardner, The University of Oxford and Editor of ARTMargins
Angela Harutyunyan, The American University of Beirut and Editor of ARTMargins

It has become commonplace to celebrate contemporary art histories and events as global or transnational, breaking apart the North Atlantic bias of past understandings of art. Yet, the call to traverse outmoded geopolitical categories largely comes from art’s North Atlantic heartlands and finds celebratory reverberations in the centres of transnational capital, from New York to Sydney and from Shanghai to Dubai. This session invites papers that reassess ‘the transnational’ in contemporary art histories and practice. In particular, we want to address the impact that transnational art events and discourses have had upon the material conditions of art production and reception. Does the transnational as a cultural category simply circulate a geopolitics of desire that follows the global flows of financial capital and cultural diplomacy? How have artists, curators and historians developed strategies to navigate these flows of representation while at the same time resisting them? And how might we construct ‘new world systems’ of art that emphasise a critical transnationalism that neither fetishises the local nor replicates the neoliberal traffic of the global? Can we rethink the transnational as a possibility for a new global materialist aesthetics that traverses the term’s purely cultural connotations? We particularly encourage contributions that seek to reimagine the material and historical production of art’s globality from the perspectives of what used to be called the ‘margins’, the ‘peripheries’ and the ‘new worlds’ of art.


Samine Tabatabaei (McGill University, Montreal) Roaming Geographically: Which way are we going?

Octavian Esanu (American University of Beirut) The Birth of Artistic Networks in Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

Yasmin Adler (National University of Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires) Latin American New Media Art: Towards a reshaping of the technopolitical/poetic map of the region

Daniela Kern (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre) Tradition in Parallax: Global past and old technologies in contemporary South Brazilian art

Karen Benezra (Columbia University, New York City) Art and Late Capitalism in Latin America

Alice Ming Wai Jim (Concordia University, Montreal) Asian/Americas: Contemporary art and the hemispheric transnational diaspora

Jean Hui Ng (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) The Art of Curation: Soft power dynamics and the Singapore Biennale 2013

Zehra Jumabhoy (The Courtauld Institute of Art, London) The Turning Tide: Flowing towards the ‘Transnational’…?

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