2012 Undisciplined Knowledge

Undisciplined Knowledge

Allan deSouza and Allyson Purpura, published in African Art, Interviews, Narratives: Bodies of Knowledge at Work, ed. Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012)

This essay explores the possibility of art-writing occupying a space that is
“undisciplined,” where it resists categorization and translation into the domain of art
history. We propose that such a “space” is enabled not only through dialogue but also by
recognizing the multi-sited character of art-making, and the consequences that its
movement, politics, and social relations can have on writing about, and framing,
contemporary art. Constructed through a series of exchanges between the two of us, the
paper builds on the contingencies and temporal qualities of its own making; we tack back
and forth, betraying and probing our own disciplinary biases in an effort to meet in the
middle. The paper is defined by its process, which, with its mix of anecdotes, external
references, and tentative offerings, is not an example of the “undisciplined” per se, but
rather an exploration of its possibilities.