LONDON BOOK LAUNCH / YVETTE GRESLÉ’S ‘UNEARTHED’
VIAD Research Associate, Yvette Greslé will be launching her book titled Unearthed, on the 24th of October 2019. The event will take place Upstairs at the Island Queen in London. The book explores ‘memory as force’ with contributions from Shiraz Bayjoo, Jane Bustin, Cecile Malaspina, Denise Wong and Aurella Yussuf.
‘I grew up with the ordinariness of the colonial order of things and the banality of apartheid in the spaces where other whites, like me, lived …’ Unearthed demonstrates, through a weave of time and place – be it then or now, the Seychelles, Johannesburg or London – how the ‘ordinariness’ of prejudice and violence persists. Raising memory from burden to force, this book pulls you in and takes you to an understanding of why it is important to speak.
Yvette Greslé is a writer and art historian based in London. Her endeavours relate to the transformative and political possibilities of the moving image and writing as memory work. She is a Research Associate at VIAD, with the University of Johannesburg.
Click here for details on the launch.
CALL FOR PAPERS: SPECIAL ISSUE ‘TRAUMA AND REPAIR IN THE MUSEUM’
Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society
Special issue editors:
Dr. Alexandra Kokoli, Middlesex University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Maria Walsh, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL, email@example.com
A long-contested cultural space, the museum is beginning to be recognised as a battleground not only of competing understandings of its remit and value, but also, more literally, as material documentation of real violence. Artefacts obtained through imperialist invasion and looting are interpellated through the museum into material evidence of the supremacy and worthiness of the colonisers, thus perpetuating the legacies of empire and consolidating them into current global inequalities. Museums help convert real violence into symbolic tensions and divisions within the communities they purport to serve.
The modern museum’s ‘hidden’ origin in violence, both in its histories of looting and in its use of objects to tell and/or preserve stories about nationhood, also relates to current debates in the contemporary art museum. This special issue of Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, focuses on the unconscious roots and ramifications of museological origins, histories and practices, addressed through any school of psychoanalytic thought, from both clinical and academic perspectives. Whose stories are visible in these spaces and how do they serve their audiences? Art museums naturalise the socio-cultural biases of the canon by inculcating standards of taste, aesthetics, and value in their audiences, and mapping implicit hierarchies within their displays or, more poignantly, between what is on display and what remains in storage. The critical discourse of contestation, which exposes and unpacks the mutual implication of collections, institutions, and displays with patriarchy, colonialism and racial capitalism, has gradually morphed into lively negotiation in which curators, artists, and stakeholders explore and campaign for new ways of understanding the histories and publics assembled herein.
As part of this new understanding, the therapeutic potential of engaging with museum collections and exhibitions is also being explored from psychodynamic, object-relations, and other perspectives (e.g. Froggett and Trustram, 2014). The emphasis here is often on reparation, which raises questions about the interrelationship between the political and the therapeutic, especially in relation to communities of trauma (Brown, 2004) for whom reparation can be a further act of violence. Can the museum house the narratives of pain and displacement held by objects in ways that acknowledge the rupture of trauma, but also present more entangled symbolic relations between cultures and publics? Artist Kader Attia’s concept of repair in his vast installation The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures (2012) is a practical model of how exchange between and across cultures might be rethought in terms of the psychosocial dynamics of identification and desire.
Contemporary curatorial thinking and practice confronts some of the most complex questions of museology and heritage studies in which practical considerations of conservation interweave with philosophical and political reflections on transience, memory, and commemoration. How might psychoanalytic thinking enable both a regenerative approach to such questions and a critical lens through which to examine the inherent ‘goodness’ thought to reside in object relations? Last but not least, psychoanalysis offers a toolkit through which to examine the strength of feeling, i.e. the passionate attachments, that curatorial decisions, acquisitions, de-acquisitions, and reclassifications inspire in their publics, particularly in the case of national and civic collections.
This special issue aims to combine academic article-length contributions (6,000-8,000 words) with shorter interventions (1,500-3,000) by academic writers, artists, activists, and curators on current and pressing case studies or issues, including but not limited to:
The museum as site of trauma
The museum as site of repair and/or reparations
The therapeutic potential of museums
Affect in the museum, e.g. museological cathexis and decathexis
Object relations in the museum
Reparative aesthetics; reparative pedagogy
Scandals in the museum (such as: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/mar/19/hylas-nymphs-manchester-art-gallery-sonia-boyce-interview)
Protest in the museum (e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/27/arts/design/emmett-till-whitney-biennial-schutz.html)
Matters of life and death, including the ethics of ownership of human and animal remains
Matters of ‘life’ and ‘death’, including philosophical and/or curatorial approaches to conservation
Reactivating the archive as psychosocial praxis
Situated at the intersection between psychoanalysis and the social world, submissions are expected to fulfil the mission statement of the journal in mobilising the psychoanalytic toolkit to bring about positive social change, through analysis and/or proposals of models for future practice (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/journal/41282/authors/aims-scope).
Please submit an ABSTRACT of 300-500 words and a BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE of up to 100 words to the special issue editors by 9 December 2019. Authors will be notified of the outcome of their proposal in January 2020. First full drafts will be due in June 2020.
CONGRATULATIONS TO SAIDIYA HARTMAN ON HER MACARTHUR 'GENIUS' GRANT AWARD
VIAD would like to congratulate Saidiya Hartman, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, at Columbia University, on this prestigious recognition. The MacArthur fellowship, is given out annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Hartman was one of the participants at our Imagined New colloquium held in May and will also be collaborating with us on The Sojourner Project to be held next year. It has been a pleasure working with you!
For more information on the award please see the announcement of the award here, and the complete list of the other MacArthur Foundation fellowship and grant awardees.
VIAD DIRECTOR GIVES ARTIST TALK AT SYMBIOTICA BIOLOGICAL ARTS – UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
Leora Farber, Director at VIAD is currently on residence at the University of Western Australia, at their SymbioticA artistic laboratory. On Thursday the 19th of September 2019, she will be presenting a talk on her artistic practice and latest body of work , Intimate presences/affective absences (or, the snake within).
For more information, visit the Symbiotica website here.
VIAD STANDS WITH UJ AGAINST XENOPHOBIA
The University of Johannesburg joins the national call to stop all acts of violence, intolerance and xenophobia. The assaults on people and the looting of property simply because they were not born in South Africa can never be justified.
The violence, coming on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, is a serious blight for a country like ours, which is founded on the values of Ubuntu.
In South Africa, where foreigners are easy targets, we need to exercise caution and act with restraint, even in the midst of the social and economic problems we face. We should desist from peddling inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech that foment violence, because violence never solves any problems. As the saying goes, violence begets violence.
We support the view of the President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, who said: "The people of our country want to live in harmony. Whatever concerns or grievances we may have, we need to handle them in a democratic way. There can be no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries."
At UJ, we recognise the intellectual and cultural contribution that students and scholars from Africa and other parts of the world make to our University and society at large, and we remain steadfast in providing a safe and welcoming environment for all its staff and students.
As aptly captured in our University's values, we must practice mutual respect and inspire our community to transform and serve humanity.
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal
UJ CONDEMNS GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
The University of Johannesburg is gravely concerned at the recent spate of Gender-Based Violence (GBV),especially the ever increasing incidences of attacks on women and children in public and private spheres.
The recent incidents, the latest being the deadly attack on the University of Cape Town student – 19-year-old Uyinene Mrwetyana is chilling, and every parent’s worst nightmare. It is unacceptable, and indeed abhorrent that women must fear the act of simply walking in the streets. It is also unacceptable that women and girls, often the vulnerable members of our society, must continue to experience rape, sexual harassment, assault and murder in the hands of even those they trust.
UJ, therefore, condemns in the strongest possible terms these continuous attacks on women and girls that are taking place across the country. Violence against women and girls robs them of their futures, harms families, communities, societies and institutions across generations.
It is also concerning that while the government has taken measures to develop laws, policies and programmes to respond to GBV, it remains one of the most prevalent human-rights violations in the country. We believe that effective prosecution of perpetrators is an important deterrent that must be reinforced.
The rights of women and children in particular, are fundamental rights that our society needs to take responsibility for and protect. GBV creates a climate of fear by victimising instead of empowering women and girls. We have to continue to educate our people and prosecute those that do not learn to respect the dignity and rights of others.
Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor and Principal
ALBERTA WHITTLE’S SOLO SHOW AT DUNDEE CONTEMPORARY ARTS
Alberta Whittle’s show at the Dundee Contemporary Arts (Scotland) explores history, colonisation and it’s aftermaths. The show titled How flexible can we make the mouth runs from the 12th of September till the 24th of November 2019. The exhibition draws together her recent works on performance and memory and postcolonial legacies.
This marks the Bajan-Scottish artist’s first major solo in a UK institution. The show’s curator, Eoin Dara, has this to say of the fact:
For more information, see the Dundee Contemporary Arts website here.
RENÉE MUSSAI CURATES CONCEPTUAL ARTIST LINA IRIS VIKTOR’S FIRST MAJOR SOLO EXHIBITION IN THE UK
Some Are Born To Endless Night — Dark Matter (13 September 2019 - 25 January 2020) is the first major institutional solo exhibition in the UK of the British-Liberian artist Lina Iris Viktor. Curated by [ VIAD RA ] Renée Mussai (Senior Curator & Head of Curatorial, Archive & Research at Autograph), the site-specific immerse exhibition features more than 60 works, which will be shown at Autograph's galleries in Shoreditch, London. Many of the works will be on display for the first time, and include a new Artist Commission.
For the exhibition, Autograph has commissioned four new unique works on paper by the artist which will form part of her ongoing Dark Continent series.
These new works will enter the Autograph Archive, which form part of their unique collection of photographic material which reflects Autograph's mission: “to use photography to explore questions of cultural identity, race, representation, human rights and social justice”.
An artist monograph publication is also forthcoming, October 2019. Edited by the curator Renée Mussai, with texts by Emmanuel Iduma, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Christina Sharpe, and an in-depth conversation between Lina Iris Viktor and Renée Mussai. The monograph is published by Autograph with supportof Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago.
NEELIKA JAYAWARDANE OP-ED PIECE IN JOURNAL FOR AFRICAN CULTURAL STUDIES
VIAD RA Prof M. Neelika Jayawardane in her op-ed piece in the Journal of African Studies, writes on the value of capacity-building-workshops hosted by European collaborators under the guise of imparting knowledge and questions whether those workshops are beneficial or merely entrench ‘colonial extractive relationships’.
JENNIFER BAJOREK, 2019 SPRING MILLARD MEISS PUBLICATION FUND AWARDS RECIPIENT
Congratulations to VIAD RA Jennifer Bajorek who was recently announced a recipient of the prestigious Millard Meiss Publication Fund Award, for her 2019 publication Unfixed: Photography and Decolonial Imagination in West Africa (Duke University Press).
‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’ A SOLO EXHIBITION BY ALBERTA WHITTLE AT TYBURN GALLERY, LONDON
Artist and VIAD Research Associate Alberta Whittle has an upcoming solo exhibition entitled Business As Usual at the Tyburn Gallery in London. A multi-faceted artist whose practice includes film, performance, and various forms of collage and assemblage, Whittle is known for work which uses the body as a site of potential for transformation and resistance. Creating space to acknowledge the effects of history on the present, she envisions new models for the future, drawing on science fiction, decolonial knowledge, and the power of vulnerability.
The exhibition will run from 31 May – 27 July 2019.
For more information on the exhibition, please see the Tyburn Gallery website here.
‘SOMNYAMA NGONYAMA, HAIL THE DARK LIONESS’ PUBLICATION WINS TOP AWARD
The VIAD team would like to extend their congratulations to Research Associate Renée Mussai for her work on Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness!
A collaboration with Renée Mussai (Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial, Archive & Research at Autograph), Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness (Aperture, 2018) was recently announced by the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation as the winner of the Best Photography Book Award 2019. The book comprises 100 photographs from Zanele Muholi’s internationally renowned travelling exhibition, also curated by Mussai, currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum, USA. It features an in-depth In Conversation text-work between Muholi and Mussai, as well ascontributions from Unoma Azuah, Milisuthando Bongela, Ama Josephine Budge, Cheryl Clarke, Fariba Derakhshani, Andiswa Dlamini, Christine Eyene, Tamar Garb, Thelma Golden, Sophie Hackett, M. Neelika Jayawardane, Peace Kiguwa, Mapula Lehong, Sindiwe Magona, Napo “Popo” Masheane, Hlonipha Mokoena, Jackie Mondi, Renée Mussai, Pumelela “Push” Nqelenga, Oluremi C. Onabanjo, Ruti Talmor, Christie van Zyl, Carla Williams, and Deborah Willis.
For more information on the book and the award, please see the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation website here.
CONGRATULATIONS TO CHERYL FINLEY IN HER NEW APPOINTMENT
VIAD is proud to announce that Research Associate Prof Cheryl Finely has been appointed as Distinguished Inaugural Visiting Director of the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies. She will be leading a new program at the AUC aimed at building a pipeline for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to impact the museum professions and the art world by majoring in art history or minoring in curatorial studies at the undergraduate level and being prepared through internships and art intensive programs to attend graduate school (MA/PhD programs in Art History, Curatorial Studies and Museum Studies) or obtain jobs in museums, galleries and the larger art world professions.
For more information on the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies, please see this link.
JENNIFER BAJOREK FEATURED SPEAKER AT MOMA FORUM ON CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY
Associate Professor Jennifer Bajorek presented at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, as a featured speaker at ‘photographic representations and colonial discourses’ on 10 April 2019. The event formed part of MoMA’s forums on contemporary photography, which was founded in 2010.
‘VIVAN SUNDARAM IS NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER’: A NEW BOOK BY RUTH ROSENGARTEN
VIAD is proud to announce the release of ‘Vivan Sundaram Is Not A Photographer: The Photographic Works Of Vivan Sundaram’, a new book by research associate Dr Ruth Rosengarten, published by Tulika Books, Dehli.
The London launch of the book will be hosted by the UCL Institute of Advanced Studies on 29 May 2019. If you are able to attend the launch, more information can be found here.
ALEXANDRA KOKOLI AWARDED PAUL MELLON CENTRE MID-CAREER FELLOWSHIP
Dr Alexandra Kokoli, senior lecturer in visual culture at Middlesex University London and research associate at VIAD, has been awarded a mid-career fellowship by the Paul Mellon Centre. The award consists of a 4-month remission from teaching and administration to be used towards the completion of her book project The Virtual Feminist Museum of Greenham Common, the first-ever monograph dedicated to the art and visual activism of the Greenham common women’s peace camp (1981-2000).
For more information on the award please see the announcement of the award here, and the complete list of the other Paul Mellon fellowship and grant awardees.
IN MEMORIAM: COUZE VENN / CELEBRATING A LIFE’S WORK
It is with great sadness that VIAD announces the passing of Couze Venn, whose ten-year association with the centre profoundly influenced its research culture and direction. After a long and courageous struggle, Couze was admitted to the Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay (UK), where he died on 13 March 2019.
Just a few weeks ago, and despite serious health struggles, Couze Venn published an opinion piece in Open Democracy. From working conditions to welfare policies, from immigration to the internet, he demonstrated (and historically located) neoliberalism’s normalised economy of hostility as a zero sum game of winners and losers, whose only beneficiaries are the far right.
CSSJ / A LEGACY OF SCHOLARSHIP
Brown University recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Centre for The Study of Slavery & Justice (CSSJ). The centre was founded in 2012 by VIAD Visiting Professor Anthony Bogues (bio), following a commission initiated in 2003 by brown’s then president, Ruth J. Simmons, which tasked a steering committee to examine the university’s historical entanglement with slavery and the slave trade. In addition to the work it does within Brown, the CSSJ supports a range of research and curatorial projects focused on histories of racial slavery, its legacies, and its ramifications for the present. VIAD and the CSSJ will collaborate this year on an exhibition and public programme curated by Bogues and featuring renowned Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié.
Click here for Gillian Kiley’s article on the CSSJ
PRIYA RAMRAKHA / THE LONG-AWAITED BOOK
With the support of 386 Kickstarter backers, Shravan Vidyarthi and VIAD RA Erin Haney are thrilled to announce the publication of ‘Priya Ramrakha - A Photo Book from a Forgotten Archive’. The books were printed in Heidelberg, Germany, in late October and bound shortly after that. The first copies travelled to Paris photo in November, and the book is now available via Amazon (link).
In October 2017 VIAD hosted the first comprehensive survey Ramrakha’s work. View exhibition details here.
AMOHELANG MOHAJANE / NEW CURATOR AT NWU GALLERY
VIAD is thrilled at the appointment of Amohelang Mohajane as the new curator of the NWU Gallery, North West University, Potchefstroom. As VIAD’S 2018 curatorial intern, Amohelang was an integral part of the centre’s programming. We wish her all the best in this new and well-deserved position, and look forward to future collaborations!
‘DISCERNING PHOTOGRAPHY’S WHITE GAZE’
VIAD RA Prof John Edwin Mason recently took to twitter, criticising the perpetuation of the white gaze in the Taylor Wessing photographic portrait competition (its most recent winner was the much-criticised South African ex-pat photographer Alice Mann). Although promoting itself as a leading international competition - “which celebrates and promotes the very best in contemporary portrait photography from around the world” - the demographic of past winners speaks to a problematic ethnographic legacy in which white artists benefit from the aesthetic commodification of black and brown bodies. Hyperallergic picked up on the story and interviewed Prof Mason:
Click here for Jasmine Weber’s Hyperallergic’s article, Discerning Photography’s White Gaze - The three top winners of the prestigious Taylor Wessing Prize depict people of color, photographed by white photographers.
NYU BOOK LAUNCH / CHERYL FINLEY'S 'COMMITTED TO MEMORY'
Cornell University Art Historian & VIAD RA Prof Cheryl Finley's new publication - Committed To Memory. The Art of The Slave Ship Icon - will be launched at New York University on Thursday the 13th sept. Presenting this remarkable contribution, Prof Finley will be in conversation Jennifer L. Morgan, chair, Department of Social And Cultural Analysis-NYU.
GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND ART IN THE #MeToo ERA
VIAD RA Prof M. Neelika Jayawardane writes on the responsibility of art institutions in relation to gender-based violence perpetrated by 'star' artists - citing the current controversy around South African artist Mohau Modisakeng.
Click here to read her Al Jazeera feature
View Prof. Neelika Jayawardane's bio
NEW BOOK PUBLICATIONS BY VIAD RAs
VIAD is thrilled to announce a number of important new book publications authored and/or edited by research associates Cheryl Finley, Kimberly Lamm, Nathaniel Stern, Bryan Trabold and Couze Venn.
CHERYL FINLEY (bio)
/ Committed to Memory. The Art of the Slave Ship Icon (Princeton University Press - link)
KIMBERLY LAMM (bio)
/ Addressing the other woman. Textual correspondences in feminist art and writing (Manchester University Press - link)
NATHANIEL STERN (bio)
/ Ecological Aesthetics - artful tactics for humans, nature, and politics (Dartmouth College Press - link)
BRYAN TRABOLD (bio)
/ Rhetorics of Resistance. Opposition Journalism in Apartheid South Africa (University of Pittsburgh Press - link)
COUZE VENN (bio)
/ After Capital (Sage Publishing - link)