12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

Messy Glossary

Term

Exotic

Texts

Proposed by Samira Ghoualmia

 

In European literature, the exotic is often equated with the beautiful, writes Cameroonian literary scholar David Simo. In white imagination the exotic is sexy, unknown, and potentially transformative. The narcissistic illusion of wanting something else, wanting to transgress, this thing that must be possessed at all costs.

 

White imagination creates greedy consumers , craving the longing to feel themselves. The longing to get close and to finally experience self-pleasure. bell hooks names this interlocking of white fantasies of the exotic and the commodification of the other under the imperative of capitalist consumption. Bloated and insatiable, European capitalist gluttony celebrates its false mirror image, which quickly fizzles out again. This white commodification is an act of violence, eager to devour what is categorized as alien other.