Santhal Family by Ramkinkar Baij, Image: frieze
THE PLURAL TEMPORALITY OF THE PRIMITIVE
The Plural Temporality of the Primitive was a Lecture Performance based on my MA thesis I did in collaboration with Katie Pickerell. It was shown at the Fine Art department of Goldsmiths University of London and at a Postgraduate Conference on Comparative Political Thought at SOAS, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 2016. Starting from “Santhal Family”, the first modernist sculpture in India and the specific relationship to primitivism characteristic of the Contextual Modernism at Santiniketan where it emerged, the paper moves on to ask what the notion of the Primitive might mean in the context of globalisation. The outdated notion of “the Primitive” might remind us of the unevenness that only seems to be erased on the surface of the globalised world. Further, it raises the question if the Other of a global self might refer to epistemological alterity (different ways of knowing), rather than to real people(s) – as the notion of “the Primitive” suggested. The lecture was accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation, which started off in a formal way, summarizing the text, then began to move further away from the content, and finally turned into image-based metaphors, disrupting the lecture poetically.