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[- What are we talking about and how?
By Aileen, Section question corner
Posted on Tue Mar 2nd, 2004 at 06:57:44 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
At the conference Public Art Policies in Vienna this weekend a question of terms came up again and again. Are we using the same words in the same way? Which words need to be redefined, replaced, or - as Simon Sheikh suggested - reclaimed?


[ --------------------------------------------- ]

Some of the terms that seem to be problematic:

- identity
- public / public sphere
- practice
- social democracy
- the left
- institution
- we

Any suggestions for what to do with these? Other terms that belong on this list?

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What are we talking about and how? | 2 comments
[new] Snollygoster (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#2)
by TreborScholz on Tue Mar 2nd, 2004 at 03:25:00 PM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

The latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary expelled many words such as snollygoster. After the implosion of East Germany both German populations realized a communication problem and promptly dictionaries appeared that bridged that divide. The differences in language in the Eastern part were due to a 1954 party directive that cursed all anglosaxon influences and created their very own secular russified home brew of German at least on paper. Many words were not used much in the everyday but still tongue twisters like "Stereoschallplattenwiedergabeanlage" (record player) and "geflügelte Jahrsendfigur" (end-of-the-year-figure with wings: angel) were attempts in this direction. After the fall of the wall there was a phenomenon that some Easterners stopped using those words in public to disguise their background. About four years ago this reversed and the "Tonmöbel, Griletta," and "Kosmonaut" came into use again in the attempt to reinscribe difference. I made a piece about this, a word cemetery. The usage of terms and their meaning shifts over time with new discourses leaving their imprints on them. Public Sphere-- from Habermas, and Fraser to Lessig the term turned around over and over. Reactivating words is less useful than furthering their concept, as Amy suggested, to build on their historical meaning to take them somewhere else and then plant a new term. Which snollygoster would have known how to "google" "public sphere" ?
_/ _/ _/

[new] reclamation and not worrying so much (Avg. Score: none / Raters: 0) (#1)
by amy on Tue Mar 2nd, 2004 at 07:35:19 AM EURODISCORDIA TIME
(User Info)

i'm always a big fan of reclamation... too often i think artists shy away from concepts or terms they formerly held dear, because they've been co-opted by corporations, mainstream culture, or other factions of art, activismia, etc.

and another thing is not to worry so much or apologize - i often catch myself at this one too - "i'm involved in so-and-so, for lack of a better term. we need a better one." yes, we always need a better term, because words cannot live up to concepts; meanings shift, connotations get in the way. there is never a perfect match.

so maybe i'm more in favor of reclaiming concepts, not words. concepts we should hold onto; words we should just forgive.

if that doesn't work, make up some better words or find them in saul's dicshunary.

# begin amy's sig
-- Discordia is nice.
# end amy's sig

What are we talking about and how? | 2 comments

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