One of the methodological approaches of the Revolution 3.0 project at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies is the Icon Lab. What, how and why can be understood by downloading the booklet and getting information on a new approach in visual studies.
The Invisible Color of (V)Si(o)lence – Analogue Differences and Future Presences ‘n the Image is the third line of this project’s title. The collages are problematizing different strings of queerness that overlap, intersect and assemblage. The photos narrate stories that make an other normality sound. They are about the normality of queerness and blackness. They are about ‘being-Muslim’ as culturalized ‘race’ and about ‘being not-Muslim’ and about African (Diasporic) gazes. The images are about all the things in-between where meaning always lingers and then vanishes away into its other sublime physical states in specific times, mo(ve)ments and about what all that means: a range of entirely different possibilities, living next to each other, raising out from each other. The photographs invite us to look at doors in the background. Doors which can be understood as spaces that one has left behind or wants to enter. Doors that can be regarded as visas and borderlines into (one)other(s) wor(l)ds, doors that one has left behind or about to open or long ago has been excluded from entering. And yet, they seem to suggest that there is an other world over there that cannot be touched by our gazes, by the world, from this site of the image. The Photo-graphs silently also depict ‘religion’ as item, fetish and geopoliticized ‘culture’ and the possibilities of understanding. They are about spaces, gazes, about capabilities and matterings that linger in the future that we cannot know.
The photos graph from this future, gazing here at us, reminding us of what here is – a whole range of miss-possibilites that cry out for a materialized ethical turn, in the face of borders, wrongs and violence to which we are compliant, that we must reframe in order to get there. In a way these photos are archives of heterotopias of human imagination and how it (may) materialize(s) – hopefully.
We are proud to give you a little insight on the project of Ulf Vierke and Delio Jasse, Warning! Not Fixed
Warning! Not Fixed is a story about the act of looking and the illusion of images. It highlights the ephemeral that is also characteristic for this end of photography as process. There is one central question: How does the process of remembrance work? Images, namely strong images or artworks in our memory are different from what we usually call knowledge. Images ‘adhere’, they stick to our memory usually without being on hand immediately. But do they really become disposable in the sense of applicable knowledge later on? The hypothesis underlying our experimental installation rather assumes that the initial image stays intact without being remembered as such; in the process of remembering the image we create new images instead of bringing back the initial one. Thus like retouches we put layer over layer of new-remembered images on top of the initial one. A consequence of the “remembering” is not a destruction but distancing of the original image. In our installation every individual act of looking at the image pushes one-step away from the initial image. The individual process of remembering described above is turned into a collective process. Warning! Not Fixed is as much about the individual’s process of remembering an image, as it is about the collective venture “archive”. The archive unfolds as a process not that much about the past but about futures, possible future remembrance.
The research project investigates the entanglements of aesthetics and politics in situations of radical social transformation, and the becoming of icons. What constitutes the ‘seismographic power’ of images, and the sustainability of icons in terms of radicalism? Central to our investigation are diachronic and transcultural filiations within visual culture in the ‚longue durée‘of lusophone Africa. These images are part of visual memory cultures and are enmeshed in thriving political-social movements and recent medial transformations. Our research firstly focuses on Mozambique, particularly because of the foundation of „Instituto Nacional de Cinema“ right after independence in 1975; established in order to produce and promote ‚homemade‘ images for Mozambicans; and conceptualized as a contrast to colonial imageries. Furthermore, Mozambique as part of the „socialist international“ formed an integral part of political dynamics (eg in Algeria, Angola, Namibia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau), which found its expression in the iconographies of the time. This internationalism, both ideological and factual, resulted in references and relations which reach beyond Africa as a continent (and connect with, eg, Cuba, GDR, Chile). Contemporary visions of futures seem to meander between political-economic pragmatism and nostalgic utopias and evoke the question of actual ‘originality’. The core question here is the negotiation of recent and historical imaginations of future in iconographies of revolutions; and the investigation of visual archives. The research is located at the triangle of fine arts, film and virtual imageries in digital media such as the internet. “Revolution 3.0” is one of the five research projects of the interdisciplinary Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies.
Picture: © Nayko – http://www.redbubble.com/people/nayko
Founded in October 2012 and inaugurated in a festive event on December 3rd, 2012, the “Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies” will expand the horizon of the well-established field of African Studies at this University at international, national and local levels. Across a broad range of disciplines, it will open dialogues with other Area Studies as well as with fields of research dedicated to ‘systematic’ (i.e. non-regional) approaches. Thus, in its first phase (2012-2016), the Bayreuth Academy will fathom concepts of the future emerging from Africa and its diasporas from different academic perspectives. An essential concern is to engage in general debates about the concept of ‘future’ through insights gained from regional research, notably African Studies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this project and the setting up of its institutional structures during the next four years.