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A Statement on Exoticism:
Exoticism presents fantasy constructs of Otherness which make up a discourse of problematic “truths.” This discourse is reflected and perpetuated in culture-items (art, literature, music, etc.) which can be identified as “exotica.” On one level, exotica simply reinforces these “truths,” but it also offers potential revelations relating to the exotic construct itself, a collection of fictions so elaborate and vast that it may be said to have its own history. Exotica can be described as the reflexive form of that alternate history; it is also a fantasy zone which reveals a desire on the part of the exoticizer to escape the reality of the present and identify oneself with the Other. Because the Other ultimately emanates from ourselves, I posit there is much learn from an appreciative study of exotica. With an understanding of the history, formal components, and linguistic concepts which make up exotica, I explore a way of making work that immerses itself in the exotic discourse and cannibalizes its various manifestations. The resulting work itself belongs on an exotica timeline; it simultaneously replicates the effects of exotica, functions as a critique or analysis, and presents a particular reading of culture and history which argues via juxtaposition the similarity and interconnectedness of various disparate aspects of the exotic discourse.