Zairong XIang
Zairong XIang

Critical Tools: Zairong Xiang

Precarious Improvisation: The Past and The Present, maybe The Future.

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One of the most widely used tools for survival by the improvised majority of the world is that of the quick-fix or make-shift, be it jugaad in India, gambiarra in Brazil, or to some extent shanzhai in China. These are at once embedded in traditional space-time and specific to the condition created by neoliberal global capitalism. Not merely a socioeconomic and anthropological phenomenon of improvisation, quick-fix methods across the world emerge from an onto-epistemology of profound connectivity of things and an ethics of pervasive permissibility. In this lecture, we will look at different registers of improvisation anchored in artistic practices and critical and curatorial reflections, from quotidian knowledge to ingenious improvisation, from communitarian politics to capitalist appropriation; and discuss what lessons can be learnt (both from and against) these theory-practices, especially in the context of an all-exposing pandemic.

Zairong Xiang is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Associate Director of Artat Duke Kunshan University. He is author of Queer Ancient Way: A Decolonial Exploration (punctum books, 2018). Chief curator of the “minor cosmopolitan weekend” at the HKW Haus der Kulturen der Welt (2018), he is also the editor of its catalogue minor cosmopolitan: Thinking Art, Politics and the Universe Together Otherwise (Diaphanes 2020). He is co-curating the 2021 Guangzhou Image Triennial tougher with the Hyperimage Group and is working on two projects, respectively dealing with the concepts of “transdualism” and “counterfeit” in the Global South especially Latin America and China. He was Fellow at the ICI-Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry (2014 – 2016) and postdoctoral researcher of the DFG Research Training Group minor cosmopolitanisms at Potsdam University(2016-2020). All his writings could be read here:

The lecture is hosted by KHiO in collaboration with the curatorial program WCSCD. It will be moderated by KHiO Associate Professor Lisa Rosendahl.

WCSCD stands for What Could and Should Curating Do? and is an educational program for curators founded in Belgrade in 2018 by Biljana Ciric.