Diversity 5: Thierry

by | Ghent, Belgium

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

tags: europe, fuzzy sets, making sense

Improv/Jam posting all contributions as they arrive. Only material of above average bad taste will be edited out (and everything here is of immaculate taste, as one would expect). Editors
1. What one thing comes to mind for you first and most profoundly in relation to your personal history and the theme of diversity?
One of my earliest childhood memories: I was scared of people with brown eyes, as all the people surrounding me had blue/green/grey colored eyes. I have very few early memories, but I still remember this one. Looking back on my personal history, I got in trouble everywhere for being different, not in looks, I looked as if I fit in, but in not understanding what exactly I was supposed to do to “fall in”.
2. Give me (what feels intuitively like) an emergent example of diversity now where you are.

We’re in an election year here in Belgium. With a difficult political history. Perhaps you’ll remember we had at one point broken the world record for the “longest government formation after democratic elections” (589 days without an elected government) 2010-2011

The Flemish “separatist” party that was one of the major players in the last debacle, is now betting heavily on new media. My personal guess is that they are going to gather more votes than ever before with, for me, a much dreaded new government formation in may 2014.
Right now I’m working with a Belgian artist (from Moroccan immigrant parents) on an art campaign to run next to the political campaigns, the perspective of my friend’s campaign is the “foreigner” as “glue” in any society … which is the opposite of the Flemish separatist party that’s campaigning with “the french speaking part of Belgium is costing the Flemish part of the country” and “immigrants need to integrate fully or leave”. As you might imagine I’m siding with my Belgian-Moroccan contemporary as I’ve always seen otherness/alterity as the most important part in any identity formation. Personally without “diversity” no “I”, perceived differences (whether real or not) are the flux of life.
In general I’m feeling that the only “emergent” examples are coming from what we call the May ’68 generation. The general perception of people in their 30s and 40s is that May ’68 failed and offered us a society where equality of genders, equality of races, … were supposedly dealt with, but in reality today in 2014 it’s become clear that this dealing with hasn’t given us the promised results and new even more vigorous actions are going to be needed to elevate all diversity to a level of equality. Furthermore, Russia is a very troubling image today, much more troubling than China ever was (of course, I’m talking here quite realistically with the knowledge that most of my fact-finding has been dependent on media … for which I have a general distrust)
(historically) Big picture view: status quo. diversity, as a difference that makes a difference, still needs to achieve its full acceptance in the larger society … but, you are unique, just like everybody else!
It’s a difficult term as it has no actual content, only a perceived one. it hints at similarity, nearly everything can be seen as similar just as it can easily be seen as different.

Leave a Comment