From the cosmos to the polis: On denizens, art and postmigration worldmaking
journal contributionposted on 2017-06-12, 12:57 authored by Marsha MeskimmonMarsha Meskimmon
The concept of “postmigration”, as a non-binary way of understanding the exchange and movement of people and ideas across imaginative and materially-enforced boundaries, is a compelling way to engage with contemporary politics, art and culture. It also has much to say to a contemporary cosmopolitanism that stresses the significance of embodied, responsible and intersubjective agency as the basis of an ethical worldmaking project. This essay deploys an alternative figuration, the denizen, as a means by which to materialise the imaginative force of art beyond the limits of representation and, in so doing, propose it as an active mode of experimental world- making. Arguing with and through a small number of specific case studies, the text brings the insights of feminist corporeal-materialism together with a postcolonial praxis of reading, writing and making within, and yet against, the grain of the exclusive limits of the “nation” and “her citizens”. The willful act of the denizen in making herself at home everywhere becomes a way of imagining and materialising creative ecologies of belonging that are neither premised upon an essential call to blood nor an authentic claim to soil. Rather, the postmigration worldmaking explored here posits a radically open cosmos that emerges in mutual exchange with a response-able and responsible polis.