Rajkamal Kahlon | “I can’t stop loving you” from the project “Double Take”. 2010
Rajkamal Kahlon | detail from “Die Völker der Erde/People of the Earth”, 2017-2021
In his famous essay Discourse on Colonialism, poet Aimé Césaire argued that what Europe calls “fascism” is just colonial violence finding its way back home. Yet, his warnings went unheeded, leaving the postwar consensus to settle on the notion that fascism was a distortion or negation of modernity, not one of its constitutive features. Also obscured was the role universalism plays in the construction of the subject it claims to represent, and by extension, the construction of the subject it excludes.
The White West IV: Whose Universal? contends that without the will to confront the structuring role of colonial schemas in Western epistemology, appeals to universal values and principles – like “all lives matter” – contribute to the emergence of an equivocal space in which a critique or disruption of capitalism can be inflected in the direction of fascism.
Whose Universal? is the fourth iteration of a series of conferences devoted to theorizing the poorly understood connection between settler colonialism and fascism, as well as the different facets of what social theorist Nikhil Pal Singh termed “the afterlife of fascism,” and the structures of affect they engender. Past issues of the series took place at La Colonie, Paris (The White West I and The White West II) and at Kunsthalle Wien (The White West III).
With contributions by Denise Ferreira da Silva, Barnor Hesse, Donna V. Jones, David C. Lloyd, Dirk Moses, Nikhil Pal Singh, Françoise Vergès and others
Organized by Kader Attia, Anselm Franke and Ana Teixeira Pinto
Part of The New Alphabet