Notes on Marginality

story © Michael Betancourt, December 26, 2015 all rights reserved.


The issue is basic survival and continued possibilities for carrying on with what one does. Marginal is thus about displaced actions that continue with neither recognition nor official sanction.

Both "experimental" and "underground" (as well as "avant-garde") feel historical in an age of internet famous and so much 'noise' that everything seems to vanish into a haze.

The marginal position is the antithesis to the variously acknowledged and identified positions (avant-garde, underground, experimental). It is emergent in their remainder (larger, less visible) created by any position that is recognized. The marginal is not, however, completely invisible—it is present, but to “see” it requires effort. Unlike the underground which requires a willful being—hidden, oppositional—the marginal is simply ignored, unrecognized, because it does not match the standard demands being imposed.

Marginality is both a choice and thrust upon.

Marginality is the “default” position for all artists until and unless they are subjects of valorization. Choosing marginality functions as a rejection of this valorization—but it imposes the costs that valorization would otherwise pay on the marginal.

Therefore the choice of marginality is a privileged choice of struggle (it is a privilege to be able to select marginal status). The problem this privilege presents is it can be rendered “mythic” when it should not be: the willful selection of marginality (choice) is to avoid the challenges of engaging valorization and remaining independent. Marginality is not independence, it is struggle.

Copyright © Michael Betancourt  December 26, 2015  all rights reserved.

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