Glossary of Common Knowledge

Beyond the conventional usage of the language in contemporary art

A list of terms associated with six referential fields, as proposed by a number of narrators in the course of several seminars, to negotiate various positions, contexts and local narratives about contemporary art referential fields. The aim of proposing six referential fields (historicization, subjectivization, geopolitics, constituencies, commons, and other-institutionality) is to meet the need for discussions that can address various localities and temporalities. Contemporary art contains a variety of social, historical, cultural and political references that exist as referential fields outside the focal ideas, concepts, and artworks themselves. These references also condition the form and practice of artistic production.

The topic of the first seminar of the Glossary of Common Knowledge was historicisation. The seminar was based on the idea of the informal systems of historicisation that are practiced by artists who have had to search for their own historical or interpretive context, because of the lack of a suitable collective history. In many parts of the world, the local institutions that should have systematised the neo-avant-garde art either did not exist or took a dismissive attitude towards such art. Consequently, the artists themselves were often forced to archive documents relating to their own art, the art of others, or broader art movements, as well as the conditions of production.