HaFI 012: Ben Alper & Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa: Hiding in Plain Sight
Significantly expanding the scope and functions of the HaFI pamphlet series, Ben Alper and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa present visual unknowns and forgotten gestures from the defunct archives of American mid-century news photography. Carefully curated and collated, their iconographic essay, a Bilderatlas of sorts, explores in depth the notion of “hide,” and of what forces normative relations to the visible serve to veil. How can, how should these images be looked at? And how do they unsettle the contemporary gaze?
Ben Alper is an artist and publisher based in North Carolina. He is 1/3 of Sleeper, a publishing studio working with photography and text, and the co-founder of A New Nothing, an online project space that facilitates visual conversations between artists. His work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Alper has also authored or co-authored six publications in the past six years.
Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa is a photographer and writer who has contributed essays to various magazines, monographs and anthologies, and exhibited his work internationally. He is the Graduate Program Director of the photography MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The booklet is on sale at Motto Books for the price of 10 Euro.
* HaFI 012 is published within the framework of Archive außer sich, a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt as part of The New Alphabet, a HKW project supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to the ruling of the German Bundestag.
September 1st, 2020, Projects / Publication
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?”
September 7th, 2020, Tom
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.”
August 21st, 2020, Tom
Bernard Stiegler, quoted from The Neganthropocene (trans. Daniel Ross): “Does anyone really believe that it is possible to ‘solve’ the problems of climate change, habitat destruction and cultural destruction without addressing the consumerist basis of the present macro-economic system, or vice versa, or without addressing the way in which this system depletes the psychic energy required to find the collective will, belief, hope and reason to address this planetary challenge? Can this consumerism really survive the coming wave of automation that threatens to decimate its customer base and undermine the ‘consumer confidence’ that is fundamental to its perpetual growth requirements, themselves antithetical, once again, to the problems of biospherical preservation?”
August 14th, 2020, Tom