{ critical introspection }


from Latin intro (adv.) “in, on the inside, within, to the inside,”
Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to observe.”

In Towards a Queer Phenomenology, Sara Ahmed refers to Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s writings about the body as “our point of view in the world” rather than “an object in the world”[1]. Applying this within an artistic practice does not equal studying the self or returning within to seek comfort, but rather means to acknowledge and highlight that the orientation of our beings in space is an inescapable constant in every human activity, which also can include embodied complicities that need to be taken into consideration.

By redirecting our gaze one step closer to ourselves and our practice in an act of critical introspection, we reflect upon our own roles as space practitioners, asking: What might it mean to (re-)produce spaces of anti-racism and decoloniality, starting from within?

Adding ‘critical’ to ‘introspection’ as a conceptual lens for our project illuminates the educational context from which this collaborative work has emerged. The combination of terms links us as subjects, connects our inside/within. It also has class connotations, highlighting our awareness of the privileged academic way of critical thinking we have as people who have the time and resources to reflect upon themselves. Aware of such a perspective, we have been employing the ‘critical’ as external feedback amongst our group, to challenge the blind spots of our introspection.


[1] Ahmed, Sara (2006) Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. London: Duke University Press, p.53.


Sara Rossling, Sara Davin Omar, Denisse Vega de Santiago