When we claim to have been injured by language, what kind of claim do we make?
We ascribe an agency to language, a power to injure, and position ourselves as the objects
of its injurious trajectory. We claim that language acts, and acts against us, and
the claim we make is a further instance of language, one which seeks to arrest the force
of the prior instance. Thus, we exercise the force of language even as we seek to counter
its force, caught up in a bind that no act of censorship can undo.
Could language injure us, if we were not, in some sense, linguistic beings? Beings which
require language in order to be? Is our vulnerability to language a consequence of
our being constituted within its terms? If we are formed in language, then that formative
power precedes and conditions any decision we might make about it, insulting us from
the start, as it were by its prior power.
The insult, however, assumes its specific proportion in time. To be called a name is
one of the first forms of linguistic injury that one learns. But not all name calling is
injurious. Being called a name is also one of the conditions by which a subject is
constituted in language; (…)
The problem of injurious speech raises the question of which words wound, which
representations offend, suggesting that we focus on those parts of language that are
uttered, utterable, and explicit. And yet, linguistic injury appears to be the effect
not only of the words by which one is addressed but the mode of address itself, a mode
– a disposition or conventional bearing – that interpellates and constitutes a subject.
One is not simply fixed by the name that one is called. In being called an injurious name,
one is derogated and demeaned. But the name holds out another possibility as well:
by being called a name, one is also, paradoxically, given a certain possibility for social
existence, initiated into a temporal life of language that exceeds the prior purposes
that animate that call. Thus, the injurious address may appear to fix or paralyze the one
it hails, but it may also produce an unexpected and enabling response.
J. L. Austin proposed that to know what makes the force of an utterance effective what
establishes its performative character, one must first locate the utterance within a
“total speech situation”. There is, however, no easy way to decide on how best to delimit
that totality. (…)
If the temporality of linguistic convention, considered as ritual, exceeds the instances of
its utterance, and that excess is not fully capturable or identifiable (the past and future
of the utterance can not be narrated with any certainty), then it seems that part of
what constitutes the “total speech situation” is a failure to achieve a totalized form in
any of its given instances. (…)
In this sense, it is not enough to find the appropriate context for the speech act in
question, in order to know how best to judge its effects. The speech situation is
thus not a simple sort of context, one that might be defined easily by spatial and
temporal boundaries. To be injured by speech is to suffer a loss of context, that is,
not to know where you are. Indeed, it may be that what is unanticipated about the injurious
speech act is what constitutes its injury, the sense of putting its addressee out of
control. The capacity to circumscribe the situation of the speech act is jeopardized
at the moment of injurious address. To be addressed injuriously is not only to be
open for an unknown future, but not to know the time and place of injury, and to suffer
the disorientation of one’s situation as the effect of such speech. (…)
During the months May/June/July
2005 PSWAR dedicates its program
to issues of identity and migration.
Two exhibition projects and series
of screenings and lectures approach
this theme from different angles.
Relocated Identities
Opening: Sunday, 29th May 2005
Duration: 29th May–19 June 2005
The 1st part of the project
Relocated Identities is an
exhibition on the overexposure
of identity-related issues in art
Can one ever represent overexposure
without adding to it?
Yael Bartana (ISR/NL)
Hala Elkoussy (EG/NL)
Wartan Arror Jiftjian (LB/ARM)
Meiro Koizumi (JPN/NL)
Avi Mograbi (ISR)
Katarina Zdjelar (SCG/NL)
PSWAR has invited the Netherlands
Media Art Institute. Montevideo/
Time Based Arts, the Shadow Festival
and ManuTau Cinema to select
films and videos for three evenings
of screenings at PSWAR/OT 301
> Sunday 5th of June at 7pm
Netherlands Media Art Institute.
Montevideo/Time Based Arts
Your Blood Is As Red As Mine
(Julika Rudelius, NL, 2004, 16min)
_imovie_1 The Agony of Silence
(Els Opsomer, BE, 2004, 12min)
> Sunday 12th of June at 5pm
Shadow Festival presents:
Break the Silence
(Paul Riniker, CH, 2003, 15min)
Eux et Moi (Them and Me)
(Stéphane Breton, FR 2001, 63min)
> Sunday 19th of June at 3pm
Manu Tau Cinema presents:
Selection of additional films &
videos by participating artists:
Kings of the Hill
(Yael Bartana, ISR 2003,
7min 30sec)
You Could Be Lucky
(Yael Bartana, UK 2004, 8min)
Happy Birthday Mr Mograbi
(Avi Mograbi, ISR 1999, 77min)
(Meiro Koizumi, JPN 2000, 9min)
Amazing Grace
(Meiro Koizumi, JPN 2001,
4min 30sec)
Andrew by Maya Pijnappel
(Pablo Pijnappel, BR 2004,
3min 49sec)
Andrew Reid
(Pablo Pijnappel, NL 2003)
> Saturday 18th of June 7-10pm
PSWAR has invited writers
and curators who have been
approaching identity issues
from different angles.
Marko Stamenkovic (SCG)
Anke Bangma (NL)
Tanja Elstgeest (NL)
Annie Fletcher (IRL/NL)
Oliver Marchart (AUT/CHE)
Ruben de la Nuez (CU/NL)
Reinaldo Laddaga (ARG/USA)
Will Holder (GB/NL)
> Sunday 19th of June 7-10pm
(Following screenings at 3pm)
Yael Bartana (artist, ISR/NL)
Hala Elkoussy (artist, EG/NL)
Katarina Zdjelar (artist, SCG/NL)
Curated & organized by:
Eva Fotiadi (GR/NL)
Tamuna Chabashvili (GE/NL)
Adi Hollander (ISR/NL)
Mhairi Macfarlane (GB)
Andrew McKee (GB)
Booklet editors:
Eva Fotiadi (GR/NL)
Tamuna Chabashvili (GE/NL)
Graphic Design: