Reading the Martinican Édouard Glissant’s writings can give the impression of walking through spirals and volutes that constantly return to the same places, but from different angles, approaches, and poetic nuances that keep gradual conceptual precisions. Glissant, who valued the baroque’s potency, made his work a captivating eulogy of poetics, wandering, imagination and relationship. For this reason, reading and rereading it was a continuous exercise in the 34th Bienal preparation, which from its initial stages emphasized that the meanings of things, works of art, and individual and collective identities are constantly changing, fuelled by encounters with all other things, languages, places, and the Poetics of Relation. The nature of these encounters is not always of convergence and harmony, but Glissant helps us realize that even antagonistic groups transform each other, and in a particularly profound and indelible way. Therefore, valuing the relationship does not mean idealizing a world without differences but defending the right to opacity, multiplicity, and transformation in a movement that involves destroying purity and originality precepts that pretentiously justifi ed colonialism.
This tension between the desire for contact and mobility, on the one hand, and the need to break with colonial domination, on the other, is in the background of the dialogue between Édouard Glissant and Antonin Artaud that Ana Kiffer imagined. In her research in Édouard Glissant’s archive, now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, she found that Glissant conceived a magazine that would have a text by Artaud in its fi rst edition. And from this patch of history, Kiffer wove a web that interweaves texts, drawings, notebooks, voices, and fragments of these seemingly different authors. In the 34th Bienal, this web materializes an imagined encounter, concretizing similarities and contrasts between writing styles that cut through authoritarian regimes of existence and reassemble the world’s body around new politics of difference.