Tag Archives: Marsha Meskimmon

Being at Home

In her book Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination, Marsha Meskimmon writes that the domestic has become integral to works that “seek to engage the transnational flows and cross-cultural exchanges that characterize globalization” (2). By referring to notions of home that are concerned with the global – such as geo-temporal shifts and multiplicity – these works invoke questions about the nature of identity, politics, ethics, and a “cosmopolitan imagination” in a transnational world (5). Meskimmon posits:

What are the ethical and political implications of be(long)ing at home everywhere, of a “cosmopolitan imagination” that is premised upon an embodied, embedded, generous, and affective form of subjectivity in conversation with others in and through difference? Cosmopolitanism…is grounded, materially specific and relational; it is a committed address to cultural diversity and movement beyond fixed geo-political borders (6).

Art is able to create new forms of the social imaginary that address negotiations in politics and agency when borders are not fixed, and belonging is a process (7). Through an aesthetic of openness to others and a conception of affect as social, art facilitates dialogue across differences in identity (7). Art materializes the cosmopolitan imaginary, and by connecting the abstract to the concrete, it is able to make us reconsider our position within global cultural flows and the ethical and political frameworks that structure our understanding of the world.

Marsha Meskimmon will present her paper “Materializing Transversal Worlds: The Question of Cosmopolitan Public Art” as part of the Critical Cosmopolitanism panel this Saturday, alongside Nikos Papastergiadis .


Meskimmon, Marsha. Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination. London: Routledge, 2011.

Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism

I’m not interested in this idea of the world that can be captured, either through a comprehensive encyclopedic view or that is perceived from a particular vantage point. On the contrary, I’m going to talk about a sense of the relationship between the work that art makes and the world that exists in the work of art – as a dynamic interplay, as something that is mutually co-constitutive. Art makes its world as it engages with the world. This is in contrast to the sense that art gives you a view of the world.

Watch the video below to hear the rest of Nikos Papastergiadis’ keynote speech at The World Biennial Forum in 2012.

Nikos Papastergiadis will present his paper “The Cosmopolitan Scene in Contemporary Art” as part of the Critical Cosmopolitanism panel this Saturday, alongside Marsha Meskimmon.