Give your throat to everything,
not the word but the thing of it.
What the body speaks is untranslatable,
how always some unpeopled aching,
our mouths closed around the past
like knives.
                    Safiya Sinclair, “DREAMING IN FOREIGN —after Caliban”


This issue of ART PAPERS, with the theme of Global(isms) speaks to—and through—artists who work cross-culturally, without countries, within and against the constructs of nationalism, isolationism, globalism, and other isms. Within the placelessness of contemporary art, how does the meaning of an artwork fare as it crosses borders, becomes translated, displaced: a migrant object? What is lost, and can that loss carry a meaning of its own? Voices in this issue speak to migration, diaspora, and hybridity, as well as the potential for and limitations of art as translator of cultural meaning. In these negotiations artists can mine the resources of cultural symbolism—visual cues, myths, and histories—for their productive potential and signification, while also turning them to expose their flaws, gaps, and how they are often articulated through histories of colonization, erasure, and violence. In National Insufficiencies, Humberto Moro continues with our cross-issue interrogation of pubic monuments and memorials by looking to Latin America and artists Carlos Motta and Cynthia Gutiérrez. Both have made works that consider historical monuments as participants in an archive of history. Anna Gallagher-Ross discusses interactivity and borders as social and political constructs with Tania El Khoury in Where No Walls Remain.

Notions of poetics surface throughout this issue, as do those of translation and “the languages we speak.” Taken literally, the languages one speaks become a marker of lived experience, identification, and a capacity to speak and listen cross/transculturally. Symbolically they can represent ways of communicating and receiving meaning—one’s available ports for exchange of knowledge. The language or dialect of one’s homeland can appear as a phantom limb, tickling, itching, and affecting one’s way of moving through the world. Cora Fisher and Jesse Chun discuss alienation and mistranslation as an active tool for poetics in Know What I Mean?

Too often, themes of migration, diaspora, and displacement risk lingering in a space of nicety and passivity, as if they are perfectly natural states of being. Genocide and exile are subtext to these categories, and they appear in this issue as well, most explicitly in Madeleine Seidel’s essay on the legacy of the Holocaust in the immigrant stories of Jonas Mekas and Chantal Akerman, Historians of Exile, and again in Mahfuz Sultan’s conversation with curator Myriam Ben Salah, in which they discuss Ben Salah’s curation of the 2020 Made in L.A. exhibition, and on being nomads, refugees, or exiles.

The emphasis on language, translation, and poetics that emerged in response to this issue’s prompt is fitting. Édouard Glissant is evoked directly and obliquely throughout the following pages. In Poetics of Relation, Glissant writes that, “while one can communicate through errantry’s imaginary vision, the experiences of exiles are incommunicable.”

In my time as editor of ART PAPERS, I have yet to draw attention to the bios section of the publication. For this issue I feel it is apt to observe the compound nationalities cited by many of our contributors, for theirs are as variegate as the artists whose work they have chosen to highlight. It feels especially poignant to draw attention to this space where we acknowledge our writers and conversation partners, as this issue closes with a letter in memory of longtime ART PAPERS contributor and contributing editor D. Eric Bookhardt, written by Jerry Cullum. Cullum considers the impact of Bookhardt’s voice on ART PAPERS and provides context for an online dossier of selected Bookhardt texts from the past four decades.

Global(isms), perhaps more than other ART PAPERS themes, will be extended to include a series of online exclusives. The conversations—and translations—will continue on

Sarah Higgins
Editor + Artistic Director

A vibrant green cloth is suspended above rolling sand dunes set against a blue and partially cloudy sky

The Green March (Beyond the conclusive logic of monumentality), Tamougrite, Morocco, archival color pigment prints, 20 x 24 [courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London]