Hospitality is the welcome we extend to strangers, an attitude and a code of conduct, and a metaphor encompassing issues of the body, territory, politics, ecology, commerce and the hosting of data. It is the point where hostility becomes friendship, where the unknown becomes the familiar, and where the outside becomes the inside. But it also about the exercise of power: the power to accommodate or to exclude, the power to impose oneself on the other, and the power to outstay’s one’s welcome. In an age of unprecedented movement of both people and knowledge, different cultures of hospitality confront one another as never before.
Published on the occasion of the 7th Liverpool Biennial, The Unexpected Guest welcomes and gives home to an array of artists, writers and thinkers from the four corners of the globe. It is not intended as a catalogue of the exhibition, nor is it simply a reader on the subject. Instead, it is a complex anthology of newly commissioned writing, artists’ projects and creative texts that explore one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Artists have been invited to make a contribution that reflects upon a particular aspect of hospitality, or to invite a guest to occupy their space. In an extraordinary collection of new writing, Kenneth Goldsmith has invited twenty-nine fellow poets to compose works on two key areas of relevance to the subject: technology and geography. Commissioned essays by leading scholars from Africa, the Americas, Europe and Asia consider hospitality from multiple perspectives, including colonial history, spatial politics and the ethics of the host–guest relationship.
Together, this rich compilation of art, writing and thinking not only deepens our understanding of hospitality in the twenty-first century, it also offers possibilities for the future.
Edited by Sally Tallant and Paul Domela
With a text by Lorenzo Fusi
24 x 17 cm portrait
243 colour and 65 b/w illustrations