HaFI 012: Ben Alper & Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa: Hiding in Plain Sight

Ben Alper und Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa erweitern maßgeblich den Umfang und die Funktionen der HaFI-Heftreihe und präsentieren visuell unbekannte und vergessene Gesten aus den Archiven der amerikanischen Bildberichterstattung aus der Mitte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Ihr ikonografischer Essay, eine Art Bilderatlas, untersucht eingehend den Begriff „hide“ (“verhüllen” oder “verstecken”) und die Frage, wie normative Beziehungen zum Sichtbaren Machtverhältnisse zu verschleiern helfen. Wie können, wie sollen diese Bilder betrachtet werden? Und wie verunsichern sie den zeitgenössischen Blick?

Ben Alper ist ein Künstler und Verleger aus North Carolina. Er ist 1/3 von Sleeper, einem Verlagsstudio, das mit Fotografie und Text arbeitet, und er ist Mitbegründer von A New Nothing, einem Online-Projektraum, der visuelle Gespräche zwischen Künstler*innen ermöglicht. Seine Arbeiten wurden sowohl national als auch international ausgestellt und veröffentlicht. In den letzten sechs Jahren hat Alper sechs Publikationen verfasst oder mitverfasst.

Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa ist ein Fotograf und Autor, der Essays für verschiedene Zeitschriften, Monographien und Anthologien verfasst und seine Arbeiten international ausgestellt hat. Er ist der Direktor des MFA-Programms für Fotografie an der Rhode Island School of Design.

Die Broschüre ist bei Motto Books  zum Preis von 10 Euro erhältlich.

* HaFI 012 erscheint im Rahmen von Archive außer sich, einem Projekt des Arsenal – Instituts für Film und Videokunst in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Haus der Kulturen der Welt im Rahmen von The New Alphabet, einem HKW Projekt, das vom Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien gefördert wird aufgrund der Entscheidung des Deutschen Bundestages.

01.09.2020 — Projekte / Publikation

auf Hyperallergic über die Umweltbelastung durch Kryptowährungen aus Anlass jüngster Auktionen von NFT (non-fungible token)-Kunst: „This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)“


Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”


Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”


David Graeber (1961-2020) on What Would It Take (from his The Democracy Project. A History, a Crisis, a Movement, 2013, p. 193): „We have little idea what sort of organizations, or for that matter, technologies, would emerge if free people were unfettered to use their imagination to actually solve collective problems rather than to make them worse. But the primary question is: how do we even get there? What would it take to allow our political and economic systems to become a mode of collective problem solving rather than, as they are now, a mode of collective war?“


T.J. Demos on why cultural practitioners should never surrender, via tranzit.sk:  „For artists, writers, and curators, as art historians and teachers, the meaning-production of an artwork is never finished, never fully appropriated and coopted, in my view, and we should never surrender it; the battle over significance is ongoing. We see that battle rise up in relation to racist and colonial monuments these days in the US, the UK, and South Africa. While the destruction of such monuments results from and is enabling of radical politics, it’s still not enough until the larger institutions that support and maintain their existence as well as the continuation of the politics they represent are also torn down. This is urgent as well in the cultural sphere, including the arts institutions, universities, art markets, discursive sphere of magazines and journals, all in thrall to neoliberalism, where we must recognize that it’s ultimately inadequate to simply inject critical or radical content into these frameworks, which we know excel at incorporating those anti-extractivist expressions into further forms of cultural capital and wealth accumulation. What’s required is more of the building of nonprofit and community-based institutions, organizing radical political horizons and solidarity between social formations.“

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