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Abstract

This chapter argues that literature and contemporary art can and do play an important decentering role in accounts of our culture and of how the world works. It challenges conventional attachments to single cultures and the notion of belonging as increasingly understood as belonging globally, contrasting the notion of the “global” with that of the “planetary”. It suggests that planetarity, as outlined in works such as The Planetary Turn by Elias and Moraru, is a desired way forward in order to achieve a balanced belonging rooted in environmental, decentered ethics and in aesthetics. Citing contemporary art-work such as the installations of Rirkrit Tiravanija, the “atlas” works of Brigitte Williams and the performance art of Guillermo Gómez Peña, the paper advocates an approach that favours the periphery rather than an all-invading Western-dominated centre. Such an approach serves to emphasize the contours of the world to the point where we can think the world as a single, immense periphery, thereby enabling us to see the “Other” as someone we can genuinely get to know.

In: Spaces of Longing and Belonging