This approach is, in France – the country from which I write these lines – a disturbing ambition. The right to difference seems to be understood, by some, as a synonym for a separatism that must be opposed, since it tends to question the Republican egalitarian ideals, a legacy of the late 19th century.
And still, the freely accessible online issues on the magazine’s website contradict this linearity. Diffuse individualities run alongside each other.
This article aims to articulate the possibility of organizing ecosystems on the margins to overcome the regime of granted visibility and tend towards a zone of friction, a space for the deployment of decolonial thought.
Minorit’Art magazine was born in 2017 on the initiative of artist and researcher Eddy Firmin. Born in Guadeloupe and based in Montreal, Eddy Firmin asserts his belonging to a transnational black community.
According to Fatima El-Tayeb, notions of transnationality and diaspora are intrinsically linked. She defines diasporas as follows: a set of “transnational affiliations appearing as a distinctive entity of insiders [citizens] and outsiders [foreigners], thus reminding us constantly of the limitations of the nation model”.
Minorit’Art magazine is itself transnational, calling itself stateless or bastard, according to its own words. To Firmin, the magazine is adamantly “underground, [refusing] any sort of institutional referencing as well as any subservience or assimilation to a specific disciplinary field within the arts ». Deprived of an ISBN, and absent from online magazine browsing platforms, its positioning on the margins of normative models means to visibilize minoritarian knowledge, as its title indicates. This ideological (and maybe financial?) choice begs the question of circulation, of its audience and in fine, of its actual impact.
Scholar Juliana Zepka accurately points towards the ambivalence of the virtual realm: on one hand, a risk of confinement in a homogeneous and individualistic cyber bubble increases with the constant improvement of filter systems and optimized browsing. On the other, “groups of sharing and exchange sprout and spread […] reflecting the desire for a virtual ‘togetherness’ beyond all geographic borders”.
This “togetherness” still seems hard to attain in spaces dedicated to art and culture. The anthology Decolonizing Culture by Anuradha Vikram emphasizes the paradox, in an Anglo-Saxon American context, between the increased exposure of artists of color in museums and the non-renewal of a predominantly white audience, as well as the ghettoization and thematic limitation that these artists are subjected to. Institutional spaces offer “temporary windows of visibility” without questioning their very foundations. That is why Minorit’Art chooses to operate online. “Togetherness” is understood here as the organization of a dematerialized and pluriversal community, in opposition to universality. Pluriversality is displayed in three ways: tone, the topics addressed and partnership and network-building.
Ever since Issue 3 (2019), specific signage classifies contents into three distinct categories. Some of them are opinion pieces, others seek to foster dialog, while the last ones favor a certain neutrality.