Cultural appropriation & collage

Uncreative Writing by Kenneth Goldsmith

What is the difference between appropriation and collage?

Maya Conran introduced in her seminar on October 25th:

Appropriation is using an element from outside to strengthen one’s personal agenda (?)

Collage is simply putting one element from outside together with another one, that does not necessarily make sense or build a narrative (?)

Compilation is putting together elements from outside in attempt to make sense or tell a story (?)

Bob Marley & climate/culture

I’m not interested in mapping out different cultures’ differences but rather the ways different climates shape us as social beings. Everything that makes up our surrounding affects how we will go about our lives and after generations that becomes a culture.

When I had my first mp3 player I listened to Bob Marley to relax and tell myself, “everything will be alright”. For me the reggae classics represented a faraway culture of spontaneity, authenticity, simplicity and warmth. Very far from Sweden – a place for sincerity, depth and dramatic contrasts etc.

US court backs family over Bob Marley shirts

El Perro Del Mar

KoKoro – El Perro Del Mar (Sarah Assbring) – Video by Nicole Walker & Hedvig Jenning

A dream of utopia where our differences in language, tradition and appearance is truly of equal value and the globalisation means exchange and confusion of the concept of nations. 

To me this work inspired to look at a basic human experience: needing to survive, wanting to progress, being steered by love and fear of not belonging, of not being meaningful.

By playing freely with non-european images and materials as white western people they are not accepting the idea that doing so is automatically privileged and disrespectful.

What is cultural appropriation?

Cultural misappropriation is when members of the majority group uses elements of a minority group that is strongly related to their singularity and cultural identity in a way that is ignorant of the minority’s status in society as underprivileged. Minorities in western cultures often have histories of being systematically oppressed, whether it is by colonisation, slavery, law enforced discrimination or simply xenophobia. (Wiki)

As a white westerner I have to be aware of the privileges I have. However being silent is not always the solution. As Roxane Gay’s saying in her “Bad Feminist: Essays”

“We need to stop playing Privilege or Oppression Olympics because we’ll never get anywhere until we find more effective ways of talking through difference. We should be able to say, “This is my truth,” and have that truth stand without a hundred clamoring voices shouting, giving the impression that multiple truths cannot coexist.”


“To have privilege in one or more areas does not mean you are wholly privileged. Surrendering to the acceptance of privilege is difficult, but it is really all that is expected. What I remind myself, regularly, is this: the acknowledgment of my privilege is not a denial of the ways I have been and am marginalized, the ways I have suffered.”

Is there a way to celebrate our wholeness through juxtaposing wildly with body types, attributes etc?

Is there a reason to not be celebrating our similarities rather than our differences once in awhile and can we do it, without disregarding the fact that a lot of people have been brutally oppressed through history based on their cultural and physical attributes?

As a white european I need to interview people with other origins to find out.


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