Comparing radical experiments undertaken by Trinidadian writer C. L. R. James and Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica, Experiments in Exile charts their common desire to reconceive citizenship. Laura Harris shows how James and Oiticica gravitate toward and attempt to relay the ongoing renewal of dissident, dissonant social forms that constitute what she calls “the aesthetic sociality of blackness,” in the barrack-yards of Port-of-Spain and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the assembly lines of Detroit and the streets of the New York, ultimately challenging rather than rehabilitating normative conceptions of citizens and polities as well as authors and artworks.
INTRODUCTION: Experiments in Exile
CHAPTER ONE: What Happened to the Motley Crew? James, Oiticica and the Aesthetic Sociality of Blackness
CHAPTER TWO: Dialectic of Contact: The Organ/ization and The Nest
CHAPTER THREE: Undocuments: Reproduction at the Margins
The first response of many readers may be to wonder what on earth links C.L.R. James and Hélio Oiticica This book’s critical themes of the motley crew, of theorizing issues of contact, of aesthetic sociality all answer the question well. What is crucial is that two such disparate characters, both contending with issues of exile, illegality and citizenship, each developed similar strategies for understanding culture and for projecting a future (even futuristic in Oiticica’s case) potential.
Aldon Lynn Nielsen
The Pennsylvania State University