Re-: An Errant Glossary. Edited by Christoph F. E. Holzhey and Arnd Wedemeyer. Berlin: Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), 2019.
What’s in a prefix? How to read a prefix as short as ‘re-’? Does ‘re-’ really signify? Can it point into a specific direction? Can it reverse? Can it become the shibboleth of a ‘postcritical’ reboot? At first glance transparent and directional, ‘re-’ complicates the linear and teleological models commonly accepted as structuring the relations between past, present, and future, opening onto errant temporalities.
In this peculiar glossary, the ICI Berlin fellows of the core project ERRANS, in Time (2016-18) — Cristina Baldacci, Christiane Frey, Julie Gaillard, Francesco Giusti, Clio Nicastro, Hannah Proctor, Daniel Reeve, Arianna Sforzini, Birkan Taş, and Tom Vandeputte — engage with different ‘re-’words in the context of their personal fields of study generating unexpected echoes among a variety of disciplines, methods, and perspectives. Equipped with an index of all the ‘re-’words that appear in the individual contributions, moreover, the reader is able to navigate this open-access glossary well beyond its individual entries, encountering, as well as producing, thought-provoking connections.
As the editors Christoph F. E. Holzhey and Arnd Wedemeyer write in their preface, Re-: An Errant Glossary ‘registers the irreducibly plural constitutions and effects of “re-”words in order to trace the complex temporal logic folded into many of them. This requires also a return to older modes of theorizing, which, despite their “de-”saturated terminologies, have been redescribed as efforts to emancipate repetition and reiteration from sameness — thereby sourcing ERRANS in time. The endeavour is deliberately collective, instigating a swarm-like exploration of very different segments and crevices of a very much erratically constituted stock of “re-”words. As such, it invites non-linear and transversal readings, but also future extensions, contestations, and re-distributions.’
In her 2015 book The Limits of Critique, Rita Felski advocates the ‘re-’ prefix’s cultural fruitfulness and capacity for renewal:
‘We shortchange the significance of art by focusing on the “de” prefix (its power to demystify, destabilize, denaturalize) at the expense of the “re” prefix: its ability to recontextualize, reconfigure, or recharge perception.’
The ICI Berlin experimental publication, however, does not result from an attempt to follow Felski’s suggestion, but rather goes back to a public workshop held at the ICI in September 2017 (https://www.ici-berlin.org/events/re-workshop/), structured as a cascading sequence of ten-minute papers, with each participant giving two distinct presentations, each one dealing with a ‘re-’word linked to their interests and research. The event format freed the participants from strict disciplinary boundaries and led to an animated discussion full of unpredictable and stimulating resonances.
Re-: An Errant Glossary […] offers an overview of the immense potentialities of the repetition and multidirectional processes signalled by the ‘re-’ prefix to unsettle not only particular notions, but also and more importantly to re-think methodologies, critical approaches, and far too linear temporalities.
Following the openness of the workshop, as the editors point out, the Errant Glossary ‘translates a sequential event into the spatial distribution of a glossary of “re-”words, far from comprehensive and proceeding not from fixed ideas about a definite meaning, let alone inherent virtue of the prefix’. At the same time, it offers an overview of the immense potentialities of the repetition and multidirectional processes signalled by the ‘re-’ prefix to unsettle not only particular notions, but also and more importantly to re-think methodologies, critical approaches, and far too linear temporalities.
Re-: An Errant Glossary is fully accessible and can be freely downloaded as a PDF or EPUB file online here: https://www.ici-berlin.org/oa/ci-15. It is also available in print through bookstores and many online retailers.
There will be a book launch at CRASSH on Weds February 6th at 4.30pm, in conjunction with a Re- lecture given by Professor Richard Coyne (Edinburgh) ‘ Mindless Repetition: Re-running the Territorial Imperative, and discussion with ICI Berlin Fellows and Re-:An Errant Glossary authors Cristina Baldacci and Francesco Giusti. (http://www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/28301).
Re-: An Errant Glossary. Edited by Christoph F. E. Holzhey and Arnd Wedemeyer. Berlin: ICI Berlin, 2019.
ISBN (Print): 978-3-96558-000-8 (£ 6.90 / € 8.10)
ISBN (PDF): 978-3-96558-001-5
ISBN (EPUB): 978-3-96558-002-2