Belonging and Place

Visual artist, Guillermo Gòmez-Peña writes in "Documented/Undocumented" (The Graywolf Annual Five: Multi-Cultural Literacy [1988]) about displaced Latin Americans:

Our generation belongs to the world's biggest floating population: the weary travelers, the dislocated, those of us who left because we didn't fit anymore, those of us who still haven't arrived because we don't know where to arrive at, or because we can't go back anymore.

It might be tempting to extrapolate the description and apply it to gay people who have migrated to cities. However the passage continues and it is not so clear as to how the description would or could apply to other groups.

Our deepest generational emotion is that of loss, which comes from our having left. Our loss is total and occurs at multiple levels: loss of our country (culture and national rituals) and our class (the "illustrious" middle class and upper middle). Progressive loss of language and literary culture in our native tongue (those of us who live in non-Spanish-speaking countries); loss of ideological meta-horizons (the repression against and division of the left) and of metaphysical certainty.

But if the loss is specific, the gain is translatable to other contexts.

In exchange, what we won was a vision of a more experimental culture, that is to say, a multi-focal and tolerant one. [...] new options in social, sexual, spiritual, and aesthetic behavior.

Read on, in the translation by Rubén Martinez, and discover that any mappings of new options arising out of a tolerant culture are achieved at a price, that of challenging artworld "mechanisms of mythification" and working at "true intercultural dialogue". A simple reading off of a queer context leaves too much behind (ironic in the context of a discourse about loss). Collaboration is offered as an alternative to simple appropriation.

Together, we can collaborate in surprising cultural projects but without forgetting that both should retain control of the product, from the planning stages up through to distribution. If this doesn't occur, then intercultural collaboration isn't authentic. We shouldn't confuse true collaboration with political paternalism, culture vampirism, voyeurism, economic opportunism, and demogogic multiculutralism.

Gòmez-Peña is writing about Latino and Anglo cultures. Could it be collaboration be done in the context of hetero and homo relations?

And so for day 660