Culture City

My fellowship year at GIDEST proved to be immensely enjoyable. One of the outcomes was a video conversation about my research in which the production values may outshine the content (thanks to Hugh Raffles and Orfeas Skuto)!

When GIDEST started in the fall, I noted here the challenge of fellowships built around interdisciplinarity–that each conversation needs to be built anew since a disciplinary foundation does not first form a common ground. Unlike my fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts, GIDEST does not even have a common topic. I ended up enjoying that waywardness even as it was often difficult to know how and in what way to contribute to the conversation.

Perhaps even more important to the enjoyment and learning, though, was a collective writing project (a short essay forthcoming in New Geographies) that was an experiment in process (how to wrangle 12 contributors to compose something vaguely coherent) and product (an essay that is a mix of fiction and non-fiction). I think this noticeably changed the conversation of the seminar. Even if we engaged in a conventional round of discussion and critique after presentation of a paper, our interest in each other’s ideas had become less evaluative and more generative. I attribute this shift to the effort of creating something together—being experimental, unknowing, and playful. I hope for more of that.