A Pantheon of Disenchantment
My classroom is a pantheon of past and present disenchantments. The thinkers and makers who are brought into our discussions, whose work inspires our speculations, are all those whose work stems from a profound disenchantment, who have recognised that we cannot know this or that in our habituated ways of knowing, cannot know it from here or in this way, that we need a wholly other way of knowing if we are to exit the philosophical telos that has dominated a Eurocentric tradition of thinking. That we need to inhabit rather than extract knowledge from encounters with texts, lived conditions, creative practices. Building on both the initial disenchantment and the subsequent thought, allows one to operate through a mode of “Looking Away” (the title of my forthcoming book) in which we might engage by withdrawing attention from where it is demanded and invest another diomension of the work with a modality of attention it has never received.
Irit Rogoff is a writer, curator, and organizer working at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory, and emergent political manifestations. She is Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, London University where she heads the PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge program, the MA in Global Arts program and the new Geo-Cultures Research Center. Rogoff has written extensively on geography, globalization, and contemporary participatory practices in the expanded field of art. A collection of recent essays, Unbounded—Limits’ Possibilities, is published in 2012 with e-flux journal/ Sternberg and her new book, Looking Away—Participating Singularities, Ontological Communities, comes out in 2013. Rogoff lives and works in London.