8140 - Elsewheres and the intentionality of Mesoamerican forms

In reading Mesoamerican pictorial codices, I face tlacuilos , native scribes, who painted the ancient and the colonial world from an elsewhere . The performative force the codices resides in placing me under a threatening empiricism that reveals a world that escapes categorization and the assurance of universals. By the concept of elsewheres , I understand spaces and temporalities that define a world that remains exterior to the spatio-temporal location of any given observer. This definition has enabled me to intuit a spatio-temporal difference that cannot be conflated with the knowledge we Western-trained academics construe about objects and subjects (in this case Mesoamerican) that remain--in fact, must remain--outside the languages and methods we privilege in our positive knowledge, hermeneutic interpretation, or ontological definition of the world. Elsewheres demand the recognition that objects have a life of their own, but also a life for the Mesoamerican subjects whose affective and practical relation to objects cannot be reduced to those of the foreign or-for that matter-native scholar conducting excavations or archival retrieval or pinching bits and pieces from objects for laboratory testing.

Keywords: Elsewhere, mesoamerican codices, tlacuilo

Author: Jose, Rabasa (Harvard University, Ud States of Am / USA)


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