Re: The Dialogical

Fillip | 2009

Fillip 10, Fall 2009

Conversation between Irene Loughlin and Johan Lundh.

Johan Lundh: In exploring and examining notions of dialogical and community-based art practices, I would like to start by asking if you have observed a more inclusive approach to such practices within the contemporary arts scene in recent years. Toward the end of your essay, you seem hopeful about the possibility of unusual collaborations bridging established art institutions and community-based practices. Maybe you can shed light over what Grant Kester means by the differences between dialogical and community-based practices?

Irene Loughlin: In general I don’t think that there has been much bridging between art institutions and “community-based practices,” and I seem to have lost my optimism. I could be suffering from what the group Feel Tank Chicago diagnosed as “Depressed? It might be political!” They suggested political activists show up at demonstrations in their bathrobe and slippers, an action at once both funny and slightly alarming to those of us who have experienced the debilitating quality of clinical depression. Nonetheless, University of Texas professor Ann Cvetkovich has commented that the goal is now to “depathologize negative affects so that they can be seen as a possible resource for political action, rather than as its antithesis.” Perhaps this take on how many of us are experiencing contemporary life is also somewhat liberating, in that it deconstructs some constrictions  which have been emphasized in the past that were simply difficult or annoying to internalize. For example, second wave feminism emphasized the importance of demonstrating qualities of self-actualization, many of which were inextricably tied to ableism through the emphasis on verbal articulation, debate, and the exhibition of mental “strength” and resilience.

Attention: What you see here is only an excerpt of a longer article. The full text appears in printed copies of issue 10 of Fillip.