Mondialité focuses on Edouard Glissant and his inspiring call for a global dialogue that does not erase local cultures. In our current moment, there is much to remind one of the international debates swirling around cosmopolitanism at the beginning of the 20th century. Today, homogenizing forces are leading to extinctions, both through environmental degradation and the disappearance of cultural phenomena, yet at the same time, to refuse the forces of globalization risks returning to dangerous forms of neo-localism and neo-nationalism. Returning to a key creative thinker of our time, the exhibition proposes the importance of a nuanced version of global dialogue, now more than ever.
Mondialité features visual artworks and environments, documentary film and songs, dramaturgical structures and archival material. Building on the experimental exhibitions that Obrist curated and Raza co-created dramaturgies for, Solaris Chronicles and A stroll through a fun palace, the exhibition unfolds in time as well as expand across space. Mondialité aims to bring visitors into contact with Glissant’s thought and the urgency of returning to its terrain, a relational form of perceiving and thinking. It takes place at a site with multiple histories, the Villa Empain. An Art Deco manse built in 1932 by Louis Empain, occupied by German forces during WWII, the Villa served as a Soviet embassy in the 1960s, a television station in the 1980s, and a squat that hosted a Mike Kelley show in the 1990s, before being transformed into a center for art and dialogue between East and West, as home to the Boghossian Foundation.
For the book Mondialité; or the archipelagos of Edouard Glissant, artists and thinkers contribute texts, excerpts and images to a commonplace book that explores key Glissantian concepts such as pensée du tremblement, créolisation, and opacité. The book includes writing by Sophia Al-Maria, K. Anthony Appiah, Philippe Artières, Patrick Chamoiseau, Manthia Diawara, Bruno Latour, Fred Moten, Molly Nesbit, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Asad Raza, Sappho, Justin E.H. Smith, and Gayatri Spivak.
In addition, a live program accompanies the exhibition, featuring choreographic and discursive events and inaugurated by an opening day of interviews and performances hosted by Obrist and Raza at the Boghossian Foundation on April 18th, 2017. The ongoing program includes: atopia, Monira Al Qadiri, Jacques Coursil, Nikima Jagudajev, Justin Kennedy, Will Rawls, Eszter Salamon, and Mårten Spångberg. It ends with a day called Mondialité : Readings, on Saturday 9 September 2017.
The exhibition is realized with the collaboration and support of Sylvie Sema Glissant and the Institut du Tout-Monde.