The members of The Racial Imaginary Institute are extending an invitation to cultural institutions, collectives, individuals, arts spaces, and other curatorial venues to invest in examining the racial imaginary in their programming during the months of June and July 2018, in conjunction with our collaborative exhibition On Whiteness at The Kitchen.
Sarah Ahmed, in her essay “The Phenomenology of Whiteness,” asks us to consider “‘institutions’ as orientation devices, which take the shape of ‘what’ resides within them.” For Ahmed, “spaces are orientated ‘around’ whiteness, insofar as whiteness is not seen . . . It is important that we do not reify institutions, by presuming they are simply given and that they decide what we do. Rather, institutions become given, as an effect of the repetition of decisions made over time, which shapes the surface of institutional spaces.” (SA:157)
Because institutions have the power to create social meaning, TRII has invited cultural institutions across the country to extend their programming and outreach towards a deliberate consideration of race, specifically by inviting and supporting arts and programming that question, mark, and check whiteness. Our hope is that this invitation will create new habits and modes of inquiry for participating institutions, as well as the audiences that visit them. Let’s be a community, a network, a world, in which what we’ve inherited is not what we perpetuate.
If your collective, venue, or organization wishes to get involved with the 2018 TRII Biennial, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a short proposal.