Becoming Minority The Conference

Wednesday February 17 the bulletin (designed by Sara Kaaman and Martin Falck) containing introductions to the conference topics was launched at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie with presentations on ‘Self-Publishing in the Control Society‘ by Brian Holmes, Steven ten Thije, and Roald de Boer (Zine) and Jessica Gysel (Girls Like Us). 

Introduction to The Conference
March 8-12, 2010

"Becoming is creation."
- Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 1988

"The process of becoming functions as a time bomb under the heart of the social and symbolic system that merges Being, subjectivity, masculinity, heterosexuality and western ethnocentrism without much of a problem."
- Rosi Braidotti, Op Doorreis, 2004

During a remarkable seminar at the Rietveld Academie in April 1997, a dedicated group of students and teachers reflected on the immense resonance that French philosopher Gilles Deleuze's body of thought had in even the remotest corners of the various art, film, and music scenes of the nineties. They contemplated enchanting concepts such as the ‘rhizome', the ‘body without organs', ‘lines of flight', ‘becoming woman', and last but not least the ‘becoming minor or minority'. It was unclear at that time whether this inspired congregation of terms marked the end or the beginning of an era.
Today, after 9/11 and in the middle of the ongoing ‘war on terror', Deleuze appears to have lost quite a bit of his magic. New icons of ‘theory' have emerged and some thinkers even declared that one of the most important Deleuzian concepts, that of ‘becoming minority', was the last creative rebound of a decadent Eurocentric culture.
In today's globalized world we find ourselves dealing professionally, privately, politically, with two all-encompassing cultural phenomena: on the one hand there is the very negative and dangerous populist obsession with immigrants and newcomers and on the other hand we are surrounded by, or involved in, the neo-liberal economy of culture that uses minorities for a successful ‘marketing of the margins'. For those who can afford and enjoy this capitalist hybridity, a certain newness manifests itself as unusual, fresh, and quite exciting.
Whilst cultural configurations between majority and minorities may shift continuously, at the same time unequal power relations have not changed at all. Pim Fortuyn was the first exuberantly gay politician in the Netherlands; and yet, with a racist agenda. Barack Obama is the first black president of the United States; he is also leading a hegemonic war on terror in Afghanistan.
Does this imply that Deleuze and Guattari's provocative encouragement to (continuously) become woman, become animal, become child, become black, become insect, become plant, in short, become minority (or minor or minoriterian) has lost its liberating potential?
Inspired by feminist philosopher Rosy Braidotti 's writings, in which she states that the Deleuzian process of becoming is, amongst many other things, a longing to be different, for being ‘other', a quest that many young artists embrace or at least recognize, Studium Generale invited ten curators and artist-curators, from in and from outside the Rietveld Academie and proposed the Deleuzian concept of BECOMING MINORITY to them as an umbrella for a wide range of critical or affirmative positions.
In close collaboration with research groups consisting of Rietveld students in their second year of course, the curators developed ten very specific, sometimes very personal and always exciting, platforms of one day, from 10 am to 10 pm.
From March 8-12 the conference BECOMING MINORITY will offer you mental and real space, where you can share your thoughts and doubts with other students, teachers and visitors from outside the academy, rethink your practice and enjoy and engage with what the wealth of invited makers and thinkers have to say, show, screen or perform about and for the world, about and through art, on and in becoming and (be)longing.  

Launch Becoming Minority The Conference Studium Generale Becoming Minority Conference 8-12th of march

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