These words of Jacques Rancière’s have been taken from a speech entitled “The Emancipated Spectator” that he originally addressed to the 5th International Summer Academy in Frankfurt, Germany on 20 August 2004, and which has since been compiled as part of a book of the same name.
Foremost, what drew me to put forward these two sentences as a contribution to the Digital Natives project is their hopefulness. The charged history of the billboard’s site and, indeed, the title of the project itself, rightly suppose embedded relationships between natives and non-natives, both culturally and technologically. Relation is not identity: Rancière’s proposal is to acknowledge this without fear. The space between my heritage and yours, or my experience and yours, is an opportunity to relate across that difference.
This is not to suggest that relation is being. These gestures across difference maintain structural integrity. However, this is to suggest that identity is not fixed. Efforts to bridge between one way of knowing and another surely complicate each in turn.
Case in point: these words of Rancière’s become “haw ḵey as kwis ans x̱éta7 kwis ḵwéy̓ḵweystway chet. tim̓á tkwetsi,” which translate back as “It’s not bad that it’s so far for us to talk to one another. That’s how it is.”