Irene Pipicelli

Panel 2D: From Page to Stage, and in Between
Session 2 – July 1, 15:30 – 17:00

 Material Entanglements in Displacement: Intermediality, Fiction and Storytelling in Walid Raad’s Art Practice

In this paper I would like to address the issues transcodification arise in terms of material and spatio-temporal entanglements (Barad 2010), posing it as a theoretical tool to investigate performative consequences embedded in cross-media practices, when it is implemented with the notion of intra(in)animacies (Barad 2003; Jucan, Parikka, Schneider 2018; Schneider 2011, 2018). In order to do so I would like to propose as case study some the latest works of the Lebanese artist Walid Raad, which express very explicitly what has been nurturing his artistic practice since the ‘80s. The works I will mostly refer to will be the series of works Les Louvres/Preface to the Third Edition (2013– ) and the performance Les Louvres/Kicking the Dead (2018– ). In these works, transcodification is twofolded: on one hand in the use of multiple codes and media non-hierarchically arranged; on the other in thematizing the dynamics of displacement and cultural appropriation at the basis of Western culture. Raad investigates the role of historical documentation, cultural heritage and global infrastructures in their capability to produce truthful narratives. In his practice Raad merges wisely storytelling, performativity and fiction (literally speaking, in the sense of a generative manipulation of a “datum”) creating an intense dialogue with his audience on what (and under which contingences) can be part of an and “historical truth” and be acknowledged (and thus displaced) as cultural heritage. 

The profound material and spatio-temporal entanglements which these artworks are the document of can only be understood if we problematize a self-naturalizing temporality (Munoz 2009), a linear conception of the spatio-tempo (Benjamin 1997), favoring a conception of time as stratified, tensive and syncopated (Schneider 2011). The political backlash of this processes which is highlighted in the practice of Raad, might be overlooked following the account of trascodification proposed by Manovich (2002; Chun 2011) while we must be able to acknowledge the performative consequences of this process which might not be immediately visible (Toufic 2009). In this sense we will like to highlight the theoretical advantages in understanding the process of transcodification as an event that primarily catalyzes significant intra(in)animations. 


Irene Pipicelli (1993) is curator and researcher based in Milan, working across the fields of performance studies, media studies and philosophy. Their research is focused on queer temporalities and radical artistic practices, crossing feminist materialism and media-archaeological perspectivesThey graduated in 2019 in Contemporary Aesthetics (Department of Philosophy, Università degli Studi of Milan) with a dissertation dealing with the dispositif of the archive in contemporary philosophical debate, artistic practice and aesthetic theory. In 2019 they co-founded CONTRA/DIZIONI, three-year conferences program focused on contemporary feminist-queer philosophical perspectives, funded by Università degli Studi in Milan, where they are also a member of PIS – Performing Identities Seminar, permanent research seminar. In 2019 they took part in the II EASTAP Conference and in the I SWIP Italia Conference. In 2020 they will take part in the XVIII MAGIS International Film Studies Spring School. Since April 2019 they are assistant curator for CROSS Project, national centre for contemporary performing practices based in Northern Italy.