Taiye Selasi & Colum McCann

Taiye Selasi & Colum McCann

We are all Multi-Local

Meet the distinguished writers Taiye Selasi and Colum McCann in this inspiring talk about finding a way to be yourself, a "citizen of elsewhere", with more than one home and an international identity based on many local experiences.

”What all human beings are looking for to a certain extend, is a way to just be themselves.” A conversation between writers Taiye Selasi and Colum McCann, about writing, time travel, looking for somewhere to call home and about finding ones identity somewhere between the established labels.

The two distinguished writers agree on many things, such as the pleasures of writing and obliterating oneself in the process: ”Becoming other” as McCann calls it. ”I think that anyone who takes fiction seriously knows that he or she must remove himself entirely from the project in order to tell anything true at all” Selasi says.

Both Selasi and McCann have experience with writing music, and Selasi explains how writing has some of the same principles of composition; short and long sentences, rythm, movement, motif, melody, pace, for example. McCann adds: ”The music finds the meaning”

McCann explains that he’s very interested in the clash between ”the supposedly real and the supposedly imaginary”. Reality is full of absurd stories, which nobody would believe in a work of fiction: ”It strikes me that the imagined is as real as what we call reality, and reality itself is deeply imagined.” McCann’s fictional characters are as real as all the people he has never met: ”The imagination lives in this most extraordinary way. Its very very real.”

Selasi finds that ”what all human beings are looking for to a certain extend, is a way to just be themselves, but what many of us are struggeling with, is the weight of group identity, religion, state, colour, imagined things that become real.” The fact is that many people today are ”international bastards” – people who rather than being ”multinational” have what Selasi calls multi-local identities, because: ”The local is the universal, with the walls taken down.”
McCann calls this ”being a citizen of elsewhere.”

Writer Taiye Selasi (b.1979) was raised in Boston, USA. Her mother is a pediatrician from Nigeria and her father is a surgeon and poet from Ghana. Selasi did a BA in American Studies from Yale and an MPhil in International Relations from Nuffield College, Oxford. She has written one novel, Ghana Must Go and two short stories, Bye-Bye, Babar and The Sex Lives of African Girls. She lives in Rome, New York and New Delhi, and also works with photography and film.

Writer Colum McCann (b.1965) was born in Dublin, Ireland and studied journalism. He is a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at Hunter College, New York. He has won numerous awards for his novels, which include Songdogs, This Side of Brightness, Dancer, Zoli, Let the Great World Spin, and TransAtlantic. His novels have been translated to 35 languages.

Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Nástio Mosquito

    'Mama Africa' is a Construct

    In this short interview Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito discusses his provocative video work, in which he through three blazing speeches addresses the legacy of the western logic of ownership and debt, not least regarding a construct like ‘Africa’.

  • Nástio Mosquito

    What are You Willing to Die for?

    Angolan artist Nástio Mosquito has been dubbed “the future star of the art world.” He here talks about his invigorating multidisciplinary practice, which investigates universally human characteristics in a teasing, polemic and humorous way.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • 11 Artists

    on Photography

    “We are so oversaturated with images, so it’s about one question: Can I hold you - can I get you to look at an image for longer than a second?” Watch Catherine Opie, Wim Wenders, Jeff Wall and 8 other artists on the power and potential of photography.

  • The Story of Marina Abramović & Ulay

    Legendary couple in performance art – Marina Abramović and Ulay – lived together for 12 years and made pioneering work as a duo. In this extraordinary double interview the artists look back on their relationship – from their first meeting in 1975 until now.

  • Marina Abramović

    Electricity Passing Through

    For more than 50 years trailblazing performance artist Marina Abramović has used her own body and energy as her main artistic material. In this powerful interview, the artist looks back on her radical practice: “It was like the first woman walking on the moon.”

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Daniel Libeskind

    Tribute to New York

    “If you took the whole world and collapsed it into one little ball, you’d find it here, in this city.” Daniel Libeskind, world-renowned architect behind the new World Trade Center site, gives tribute to his city in this short and colourful video.

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.