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
On Friday, April 6, 2021, at 8 p.m., Akademie Schloss Solitude will host a Zoom event with former HaFI Residency fellowship holder Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible” (2017). Moderated by Doreen Mende. To register, click here.
April 14th, 2021
The magazine MONOPOL currently features an interview (in German) with Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible,” which she conceived and shot during her HaFI residency in 2017.
April 14th, 2021
Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “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.”
November 7th, 2020