Red assembly: The work remains
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The work that emerged from the encounter with Red, an art installation by Simon Gush and his collaborators, in the workshop ‘Red Assembly’, held in East London in August 2015, is assembled here in Kronos, the journal of southern African histories based at the University of the Western Cape, and previously in parallax, the cultural studies journal based at the University of Leeds published in May 2016. What is presented there and here is not simply more work, work that follows, or even additional works. Rather, it is the work that arises as a response to a question that structured our entire project: does Red, now also installed in these two journals, have the potential to call the discourse of history into question? This article responds to this question through several pairings: theft – gift; copy – rights; time – history; kronos – chronos. Here we identify a reversal in this installation of the gift into the commodity, and another with regard to conventional historical narratives which privilege the search for sources and origins. A difference between (the historian’s search for) origination and (the artist’s) originality becomes visible in a conversation between and over the historic and the artistic that does not simply try to rescue History by means of the work of art. It is in this sense that we invite the displacements, detours, and paths made possible through Simon Gush’s Red, the ‘Red Assembly’ workshop and the work/ gift of installation and parallaxing. To gesture beyond ‘histories’ is the provocation to which art is neither cause nor effect. Thinking with the work of art, that is, grasping thought in the working of art, has extended the sense of history’s limit and the way the limit of history is installed. What to do at this limit, at the transgressive encounter between saying yes and no to history, remains the challenge. It is the very challenge of what insistently remains.