1. Documents, Constellations, Prospects
        2. Contributions
        Performative Conversation, Dissident Knowledges

        A Roma Model/the Cosmopolitan Other

        Daniel Baker and Ethel Brooks

        20 March 2013

      1. It seems to be a commonplace assumption that the misery of Roma who live amidst our societies is a direct consequence of their self-chosen “freedom” that stands against the prevailing consensus in the so-called West. Now, as this very consensus gets uncovered as one of order, control, and disciplining aimed at breeding the fiction of western hegemony, the Roma model of life—arrested through social and aesthetic prejudice—might offer knowledge on how a new possibility might emerge from the current condition of emergency. Artist and researcher Daniel Baker and theorist Ethel Brooks examine what Roma thought has to offer today if it manages to migrate from the margins to central societal discourses on politics, economics, and aesthetics. The discussion on issues such as nomadic sensitivity, extraterritoriality, camp, survival, and collectivity—underlined by the principles of the makeshift and of contingency—get punctuated by two instances of divinatory dialogue: a palm reading by Brooks and a Tarot card reading by Baker. These marginal “fortune-telling” acts are stereotyped as primitive practices of those who have been circumvented by modernity, yet they resonate in many established western structures ranging from commerce to politics to culture and art to religion. Whether taken seriously or not, these acts of divination signify particular modes of engagement and a potential performative departure to embrace “Othered” knowledges in imagining alternate kinds of prospects for being together.