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Migrants: Workers of Metaphors

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Chapter Summary

Migration implies a radical experience of uncertainty, and the passage from one way of naming and speaking to another. This discontinuity is greater if, when moving from one country to another, the language changes. But it also occurs when moving to another society that speaks the same language, but with different modulations. It is necessary to pay attention to what is lost and gained in these symbolic transfers, abandonments and recreations of meaning. This text proposes that it can be useful to examine the aesthetics of migrants as operations analogous to those that philosophy of language classifies as metaphors. In many societies, the visual arts remains the source of what is left of the nationalist imagination; artworks still constitute the stages for the consecration and communication of signs of local identity. The aesthetic event erupts when, instead of affirming a meaning, uncertainty and strangeness are allowed to emerge.We know that the word metaphor means transport in Greek. It has, therefore, a “natural” association with travel, migration, and other modes of displacement. This text stems from the following question: how much can be said about migration through scientific discourse—formed with univocal concepts, figures, and hard facts; and how much can be conveyed by artistic languages, whose polysemy is plotted with metaphors?



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