Other Globes pp 85-106 | Cite as

The Nature of the Historical: Forming Worlds, Resisting the Temptation

  • Patrick D. Flores
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society book series (PSGCS)


Through a reflection on the writing, and therefore the fiction, of the art historical text in a post-colonial site like Southeast Asia, the chapter speaks to the anxiety about reconsidering the formation of the global or the making of emergent worlds. It tries to peel the layers off this “nature” in terms of the conceptions of both body and metaphor; the reclamation of the sea to resettle the homeless; and the restaging of the cartographic discourse to trace a longer arc of the genealogy of worlds, from the Passion of Christ to the vision of a twenty-first-century Maritime Silk Road. The moments of this process are gleaned in iconography, a failed development project, colonial maps, a film on Genghis Khan, and the kinetic art of a migrant artist. The chapter explores the levels of the word “nature” as, on the one hand, a kind of character or quality, and, on the other, a relatively stable range of traits that in art history may be called style or iconography. On the other hand, “nature” may also mean the ecology of forces that create a material, broadly speaking, its environment. Therefore, the nature of the historical, specifically the art historical, refers to the logic of its formation and to its formative condition. This is the proposition of the term “nature” as it relates to the art historical. Surely, both art and history, specifically post-colonial history, may refuse this nature. But then there is also the temptation to do art history in these parts at the same time that there is an effort to resist the temptation.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick D. Flores
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art StudiesUniversity of the PhilippinesQuezon CityPhilippines

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