Prelude to a New Black Gaze
What is a ‘black gaze’? The term is both an invitation and provocation to reflect on our current moment of diasporic counter-visuality. It is a paradoxical moment forged ‘in the wake’ of the afterlife of slavery – a moment when we are inundated by images of precarious black life and antiblack violence, while simultaneously witnessing an ascendance of black aesthetics in the fine arts and popular culture. This paradox provides the foundation for the emergence of a black gaze. Focusing on the critical and creative ways black artists are repurposing the amateur visual archive of the black experience, this talk reflects on the new visual modalities they are creating to render the radical possibilities they present for imagining different kinds of black futurity.
Tina Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard Center for Research on Women, Barnard College – Columbia University, New York. She is the author of three books: Listening to Images (2017), Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), and Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (2004). She is a black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art, and is completing a new collection of essays entitled The New Black Gaze. Campt is currently in residence as Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris, and was recently appointed as a Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design at the University of Johannesburg.