The Address

Collective Magic: session #2
Jackie Karuti



If I’m being honest, I dread speaking in public mostly because I fear not having an original/clever answer to the over-asked but under-answered question; What is art or Who is an artist?

A common answer is always dismissing the question by applying another philosophical question to the question.

Raqs Media Collective manages to address both in the most poetic and profound way I’ve come across.



“…symbolic power, the ability to construct an image of what to be afraid of and what to be loyal to is the first resort of every regime. Violence is always the last resort.

But the legitimacy of a regime’s violence rests on its ability to harness symbolic power. Since the beginning of this century, this symbolic power has harnessed the promise of growth and the threat of terror. Between them the urgencies and emergencies that growth and terror bring in their wake seek to exhaust our experience of time.

What can art do in the face of such pressures?

Asking questions about how we could best spend time, about the quality of our experience of time, about what can be visible in the spaces common to us, what can be spoken and who can do the speaking: these are the things that art does when it acts in the world.

And that is why to act artistically is to constantly challenge the realm of constituted politics, the dance of growth and terror and the name of all things that can and cannot be named.”  

-Texte Zur Kunst, September 2013-Globalisms



  1. Art asks questions about how we could best spend time.

Capitalism, utilitarianism, liberalism, totalitarianism,  philosophy, prophesy, knowledge systems & production, equations, innovation, disruption, decay…

  1. Art asks about the quality of our experience of time.

Memory, archives, anxiety, exhaustion, contentment, freedom, happiness. Mental, physical, spiritual & intellectual health and nourishment…

  1. Art asks about what can be visible in the spaces common to us.

Geographies & histories. Intellectual, artistic, academic, spiritual spaces. Energy, empathy, the planets, family, clan, bodies, society, class, community, species, civilization…

  1. Art asks what can be spoken and who can do the speaking.

Revolutions, refusals, movements, antagonisms, protest, restitution, decolonization, empire, radicalization, representation, marginalization, invocations, language, silence…






Art cannot be consumed on a conventional time-space relationship. It situates itself outside. It defines its own space and time and operates at another symbolic level.


The closer you get to the center of the universe the slower time gets.

In pursuit of a pure moment.

Find a position not a theme.



-An attempt to realize a useful dream– Tierno Monenembo





I want first to understand so deeply why I must do what I need to do. An inevitability that demands I first seek its purpose. A problem solver. A raiser of problems.





How can we predict the weather and become more accurate weathermen? The collective thirst & longing for rain but not enough winds of change to allow for the gathering of clouds.