construction, Marwa Arsanios

narrator Marwa Arsanios
term construction
published 23 February 2016, London, UK

Perhaps to address the question of constituencies we should be first addressing the current impasse of liberal democracy in its intricate relation to the neoliberal project. In some parts of the world, the collapse of this system can already predict a certain future of the nation-state model in its current form. In places where the infrastructural support of the state has collapsed, or where different forms of state institutions are purposefully left to fall apart in order to be privatized, there, we can clearly perceive the dark future of liberal democracies.


In so-called “third world” countries, the 90s (or post-89) have been a decade of political repression, in the sense that hegemonic humanitarian discourses took over, and marginalized any attempt at rethinking leftist discourses and politics.  We find ourselves today stuck between old useless leftist discourses and a humanitarian discourse that we try to fight back, all the while keeping in mind that it can also be useful for other fights.


Contemporary art institutions that were mainly built in the “economically prosper 90s” are also part of this dynamic, stuck within these discourses. I propose the word “construction”, referring to building and construction as in a real estate project, and looking at institutions, the way they are built and what they build, as part of this project. How can we politicize those spaces again? How can we break through the impasse of the humanitarian or the cynical leftist discourse? Perhaps feminist theory and gender politics are a way to rethink those spaces and re-politicize them.