Itinerant Belongings

An exhibition of artists who engage ideas of homeland and belonging and resist a unitary sense of time or place


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Memory
  • Performance

Organizing Institutions

Slought, History of Art, and Fine Arts Department at the University of Pennsylvania


Iggy Cortez, Charlotte Ickes

Process initiated


Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Addams Fine Arts Hall
University of Pennsylvania
200 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

On the web

Find us on twitter at #itinerantbelong and on instagram at itinerantbelongings


100% Formal - 0% Informal

Slought, the History of Art and the Fine Arts Department at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce "Itinerant Belongings," an exhibition on display from November 1, 2014 to December 19, 2014. An exhibition walk-through with the curators will take place on the evening of Saturday, November 1st at 5:00pm at Addams Fine Arts Hall. It will proceed to Slought where an opening reception will take place from 6:30pm-8:30pm.

The exhibition examines how artists have engaged with ideas of homeland and belonging that fail to cohere to a unitary sense of time or place. Through film, photography and performance, the artists in this exhibition explore the contours of belonging across different contexts - from the invention of nationalist social rituals to the homecoming of veterans, from the trope of the "haunted" house to that of the family portrait. By bringing together the work of an international group of artists approaching home as a volatile concept, this exhibition examines how fantasies of belonging involve complex psychic and affective responses to specific material and historical conditions informed by race, gender, sexuality and class.

"Itinerant Belongings" grounds this inquiry by revisiting critical debates that bridged activism and art in the 1980s and 1990s. Responding to the presence of the homeless, the displaced, and the disenfranchised in American cities, two of the artists in the exhibition, William Pope.L and Krzysztof Wodiczko, produced projects in this critical moment that questioned the very notion of what it meant for a space to be "public." This exhibition aims to reanimate this dialogue and extend it to a contemporary global landscape marked by mass displacement, armed conflict, and debates around borders and immigration.

Work by Yael Bartana, Jamie Diamond, Andrew Moore, William Pope.L, Paul Salveson, Jessica Vaughn, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Krzysztof Wodiczko will be on display at Slought and the Addams Gallery at PennDesign, and viewers are encouraged to take an itinerant path from one exhibition site to another.

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"Is it possible to speak with assurance of a public space where social groups, even when physically present, are systematically denied a voice? Does anyone "hold the key" to a public space? What does it mean to relegate groups to a sphere outside the public, to bar admittance to the discursive construction of the public, and in this way, prohibit participation in the space of public communication?"

-- Rosalyn Deutsche, "Art and Public Space: Questions of Democracy," Social Text no. 33 (1992)

"Because the thought of errantry is also the thought of what is relative, the thing relayed as well as the thing related. The thought of errantry is a poetics, which always infers that at some moment it is told. The tale of errantry is the tale of Relation...Relation rightfully opposes the totalitarianism of any monolingual intent."

-- Édouard Glissant, "Errantry, Exile," in Poetics of Relation (1990)

"Never being on the right side of the Atlantic is an unsettled feeling, the feeling of a thing that unsettles with others. It's a feeling, if you ride with it, that produces a certain distance from the settled, from those who determine themselves in space and time, who locate themselves in a determined history. To have been shipped is to have been moved by others, with others. It is to feel at home with the homeless, at ease with the fugitive, at peace with the pursued, at rest with the ones who consent not to be one. Outlawed, interdicted, intimate things of the hold..."

-– Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, "Fantasy in the Hold," in The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (2013)

How are the politics of public space informed by the supposedly intimate and private domains of fantasy and family?

Do concepts like homeland and homecoming promote a desire for wholeness that conceals the exclusion of otherness? How do senses of relation arise in unsettled modes of orientation, such as errantry or nomadism?

Public Programs

Screening of The Bombing of Osage Avenue (1986), and
Louis Massiah in conversation with Karen Beckman and Jessica Vaughn Wednesday, November 5, 6:30 PM

Yael Bartana: Visiting Artist Lecture
and conversation with Nora Alter
Thursday, November 20, 6:30 PM
Institute of Contemporary Art
More information


We are grateful for generous support at the University of Pennsylvania from the Sachs Programming Fund; Provost's Interdisciplinary Arts Fund; History of Art Department; Fine Arts Department; Annenberg School for Communication; Cinema Studies; Penn Humanities Forum; Kaja Silverman/Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award; Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; Center for Ancient Studies; Visual Studies; Center for Africana Studies; Religious Studies Department; Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures; Wharton Women in Business; Jewish Studies; School of Social Policy and Practice; Urban Studies; and the Wharton Graduate Media & Entertainment Club.

In-kind support from Fireball Printing.