Beatrice Ferrara holds a PhD in “Cultural and Postcolonial Studies of the Anglophone World” (2011). In 2012-2014, she was post-doc researcher at the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” in Naples (Italy), where she also taught “Media and Cultural Studies” (2012-14). Her research – focusing on technoculture from a transcultural perspective, and on culture and migration – has been extensively published (in Italian and English) in journals and collections of essays. She also held visiting research posts in the UK as the recipient of EU research bursaries at the postgraduate and doctoral levels.
Currently, she is no longer engaged in formal research. She is in fact reviving her passion for transcultural communication through her professional activity as a Language Educator & Teacher of Italian as a Foreign/Second Language, and through her voluntary contribution to independent research projects and art-based research platforms. She is based in Naples.
The Otolith Group:
A Post-colonial Poetics of ‘Errancy’
This research stems from my book project on the British post-colonial art collective The Otolith Group, founded in London in 2002, whose work retreats from realistic representation by proposing a novel kind of militant aesthetics, unattached to the traditional modalities of progressive politics. By mobilizing the interdisciplinary toolbox of cultural and postcolonial studies and media theory, the project unfolds an inquiry into the conceptual underpinnings animating the Group’s deployment of ‘errors’, i.e. ‘imperfect’ and ‘disorienting’ forms of aesthetic representation – blurred visions, trembling images, failed projects, incomplete narrations, intelligible murmurs, non-teleological temporalities, ghostly apparitions, improbable science-fictional scenarios. The research frames the Group’s aesthetics within two wider scientific debates, both articulating a certain manifestation of critical ‘errancy’ through the deployment of (theoretical and aesthetic) strategies that set the disorienting against the comfortable, the uncanny against the familiar, the unrealistic against the realistic, the haphazard against the organized, fugue against method, withdrawal from teleology against progressive imagination.
These are the ongoing discussion around the notion of ‘radical negativity’ and the investigation around the transformations of the documentary genre in the age of global crisis, which manifests itself through a blurring of the lines between facts and fiction. Through an analysis of the different aspects and components of the Group’s artistic corpus, the goal of the project is to inquire whether, how, and to what extent the Group’s poetics of ‘errancy’ engages with such wider debates while simultaneously providing a specific post-colonial take on them.