A*Desk editorial. March 2022. Issue 195. Bonart
Unlearning makes us think of this quote from Wittgenstein that we used to think about when we were students and about which we have doubts about whether it can be really enabling: “My propositions are explanations, but in this way: he who understands me recognizes them in the end as absurd or meaningless, when, having climbed on his shoulders, he has managed to climb over them, he has, so to speak, to throw the ladder away once he has climbed up. He has to overcome those propositions; then he will see the world correctly.” Recovering this quote makes us realize how far we have strayed from Wittgenstein. What is it to see the world correctly? And above all, is it possible to move away from the propositions that traverse and shape us? To decolonize ourselves, to reimagine ourselves, and even to rethink our desires, is it to learn or to unlearn oneself? Contradiction and antagonism seem constitutive of learning itself, which reveals itself by showing its limits and simultaneously invites us to overcome them, which is a disciplinary and emancipatory tool.
Pablo Martinez introduced the seminar “Learning to imagine” as follows: “to create new worlds, to fight for other forms of life and build different configurations of the social, it is first necessary to imagine them.” Since imagination is inseparable from aesthetic judgment and artistic processes, it is not surprising that art centers become ideal spaces -with their immense contradictions- for learning or for letting go of some of the knowledge that holds us down, recovering the unpopular Heidegger’s idea of art as “opening up the world.” Thus, public and educational programs claim their space, absorbing contemporary debates and practices, forcing processes, and trying to bring about real institutional change. In the same way, study centers, residencies, research projects, and collaborations with entities and collectives open up crises and invite us to live in a permanent questioning claim of their protagonism. It is necessary to point out the relevance of everything that happens in the museum space beyond the exhibition space, and that makes its function as a mere box containing works appear to us as something obsolete and irrelevant; and yet, exhibitions maintain their status, the media spotlight, under the protection of a market, and their budgets are abysmal compared to the rest of the museums’ programs. But can the autonomous aesthetic experience in an exhibition hall make us learn, or does it further hierarchize the public by favoring the idea of an entire space? It is time to detach ourselves from the ladder we are perched on if we find that most of its propositions are already absurd or meaningless.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Edición de Valdés Villanueva, L. M., 5ª ed., Madrid, Tecnos, 2017
Seminar “Learning to Imagine Oneself”, MACBA, November 2017