Indepth Arts News: |
2007-09-27 until 2007-12-14
198 Contemporary Arts and Learning
UK United Kingdom
198’s contribution to the commemoration of the
parliamentary abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,
Blind Memories proposes to look at the role of visual representations
in the formation of collective memories of the Trade.Memory traces, impressions or images, have figured in
theories of memory from Aristotle through Descartes, Freud and into 21st century thinking. Precious devices of the
mourning process, relics from the past have a crucial role in the foundation of group identities following the experience of a traumatic event. But how legitimate are these relics when, as per the case of visual representations of the Transatlantic
Slave Trade, they are partly based upon strangely
rooted, compromised emotions “such as envy for the slave as
ultimate martyr, philanthropic sentimentality and even
pornographic fantasy?” (M. Wood, 2000).
Gathering an eclectic body of work by artists Ana Avendano, Joanne Gibbs, Rita Keegan, Cheryl Lane, Taslim Martin, Agnes Poitevin-Navarre and Susan Stockwell, Blind Memories reinterprets,
across a variety of media, the iconic representation(s) of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and their legacies, from 15th century portulan charts to 19th century anthropological
photography, critically assesses their role in the History
writing process, and their contribution to the politics of representing race and the fantasised, imaginary “other”.
Blind Memories evaluates how this bizarre assemblage of voices allows us to achieve any degree of understanding
of the Slave Trade today, and ultimately begs the question: can we make art out of the middle passage?
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