From 1993-96, artist Rainer Ganahl held six reading seminars with six different bibliographies in six different countries and entitled this public project; “IMPORTED—A READING SEMINAR, Or How to Reinvent the Coffee Table: 25 Books for Instant Use (7 Different National Versions).” Imported – A Reading Seminar is an extension of that project and gathers together a collection of texts with the common theme of import. For this volume, Ganahl invited a series of authors who have an intimate relation with each country he visited to contribute texts or interviews addressing the consequences of (cultural) exchange, globalization, nationalism, multinationalism, Orientalism, Eurocentrism, tourism, languages, theory, desires, identity, and politics from a variety of perspectives.
The interview between Kojin Karatani and Sabu Kohso, included in this volume, addresses important economical and political aspects along with its instrumentality in the construction of nations and of race consciousness; Bill Arning’s text demonstrates how the author came to understand through his experience as a curator that sexuality always has a specific cultural context; Coco Fusco deals with issues of prostitution in socialist countries now in the process of transition to capitalism; dealing with displacement of collective identities and their representation, Sami Naïr asks the question: What is it to be Arab? And Sylvere Lotringer: How can one become a foreigner in a foreign country. The resulting volume includes texts in English, Japanese, Russian, German, and French by nineteen different authors. Knowledge of a foreign language helps, but is not necessary. Along with those already mentioned included are texts by Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Spivak, Edward Said, Zeigam Azizov, Lisa Adkins, Dan Bacalzo, Benjamin Buchloh, Karen Kelsky, Dana Leonard, Edward Soja, Victor Tupitsyn, Wulf Schmidt-Wulfen.
Rainer Ganahl was born in Austria and has been living in New York since 1990. His artistic work often deals with the forms and content of education and politics at the intersection of linguistic and class issues. His other books include Reading Karl Marx, Ortssprache – Local Language, Educational Complex, and Please, Write Your Opinions of U.S. Politics.