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Mandag-fredag 10-19, lørdag 10-17, søndag lukket

Unfinished Histories: Art, Memory and the Visual Politics of Coloniality

30.11.2017 -

Unfinished Histories: Art, Memory, and the Visual Politics of Coloniality 

International conference 30 November - 1 December 2017. 

The conference will take place at the University of Copenhagen and The Royal Danish Library in conjunction with the visual culture exhibition "Blind spots. Images of the Danish West Indies colony", curated by the conference organizers Assistant Professor Mathias Danbolt and Senior Researcher Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer together with Research Librarian Sarah Giersing. The programme includes more than 50 different presentations, among others by:

Krista Thompson (US)
Oceana James (USVI)
La Vaughn Belle (USVI)
David Knight Jr. (USVI)
Frandelle Gerard (USVI)
Monica Marin (USVI)
Cynthia Oliver (USVI)
Priscilla Hintz (USVI)
Temi Odumosu (UK)
Jeannette Ehlers (DK/Trinidad)
Nanna Debois Buhl (DK) 

The year 2017 marks the centennial of Denmark’s sale of the Caribbean islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix to the USA. After more than 200 years under Danish colonial rule, the Danish West Indies became the US Virgin Islands. In Denmark the marking of the centennial has brought an unprecedented level of attention to Danish colonialism, which for too long has been relegated to the margins of collective consciousness. While this year’s commemoration can be said to mark a shift in the Danish acknowledgement of its colonial past and participation in the transatlantic enslavement trade, many of the public debates have provoked traditional responses to colonial histories as being a closed chapter in the nation’s past, where one can look back upon it from the comfortable distance of the present.

This two-day international conference Unfinished Histories: Art, Memory, and the Visual Politics of Coloniality takes as its starting point the view of colonialism as a radically unfinished body of histories, with major ramifications in the present day. Attentive to colonial logics and their durability in contemporary culture, the conference seeks to examine the role art and visual culture have played, and keep playing, in (re)producing colonial histories and attending to the coloniality of the present. While the aftermath of Danish colonialism in the Caribbean is a focal point of departure, the conference invites perspectives that engage with the visual politics of coloniality in a global context, including but not limited to Africa and the North Atlantic.

Artists and curators have long been at the forefront in examining the visual politics of coloniality in Denmark as well as in the US Virgin Islands and beyond. A collaborative exhibition project such as Overdragelse [Transfer] (curated by La Vaughn Belle and Jacob Fabricius, 2008) is an important reference point for the current interest in artistic engagements with Danish colonial history, however exchange and dialogue across borders and perspectives have generally been limited. Therefore, the Unfinished Histories-conference also seeks to facilitate further collaborations, by bringing together artists, curators, scholars, and others who work across different geographies, backgrounds, contexts and fields of study to discuss the relationship between art, memory and coloniality.

The conference is organized as part of Mathias Danbolt's research project "Colorblind? Theorizing Race in Danish Art and Visual Culture" at the University of Copenhagen, funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and the Sapere Aude: DFF Research Talent Grant".


Thursday November 30, 2017

Venue: The Royal Danish Library

9.00-9.30: Registration and coffee (Atrium)

9.30-9.45: Welcome and introduction (Queen’s Hall)

Mathias Danbolt and Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer, Conference Organizers

9.45-10.45: Keynote (Queen’s Hall)

Krista Thompson, “Photographic Fugitivity: On Outrunning Capture in Colonial Jamaica”

10.45-11.00: Break 

11.00-12.00: Keynote (Queen’s Hall)

Temi Odumosu, “Unable to Hear the Tears: In Search of Empathy During Denmark’s 2017 Commemorations”

12.00-13.00: Lunch (Atrium)

13.00-14.30 Parallel Sessions

Decolonizing the Museum (Queen’s Hall)

Chair: Mathias Danbolt

Thomas Overdick, Sven Klomp and Joe Sam-Essandoh: “Re-thinking Re-presentations: African-Caribbean perspectives on the colonial legacy of Flensburg and Altona”

Julia Binter, “Decolonizing the Art Museum: Unfinished (his/her)stories from the Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany”

Monica Marin (with Carla Acevedo-Yates): "Migrating Histories: Collective Curatorial Practices"

Archival Interventions (Rotunda / Blind Spots-exhibition)

Chair: Daniela Agostinho

Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, ”Vertigo of Archive: Fragments for a Video Installation”

Sara Magno, “Contamination and decolonization: revisiting the Guinean Liberation Movement film archive”

Renée Ridgway, “The Anarchival”

14.30-15.00 Coffee 

15.00-16.45 Parallel Sessions

Curator Panel on Decolonizing Exhibitions (Queen’s Hall) 

Chair: Mathias Danbolt

Priscilla Rivera Hintz Knight, "An Island is a World: Curating in a Small Place" 

Louise Lassen Iversen & Rie Hovmann Rasmussen, "Shaking the Habitual"

Frederikke Hansen & Tone Olaf Nielsen, "The Drive to Remember: Kuratorisk Aktion's Curatorial Engagement with Invisibilized Colonialism and Indigineity in the Nordic Region"

Mirja Thaulow, "Behind Colonial Mirrors: An Exhibition in the Royal Reception Rooms at Christiansborg Palace"

Gitte Westergaard, "Stories of Migrant Fragments"

Archival Encounters (Rotunda / Blind Spots exhibition)

Chair: Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer

Daniela Agostinho, “Archival Encounters: (Un)speakability and the Ethics of Seeing and Showing Colonial Images”

Randi Marselis, “Pinning Antropometric Photographs”

Nina Cramer, “Colonial Photography – Contemporary Spectatorship”

16.45-17.00: Break

17.00-18.00: Keynote (Queen’s Hall)

Cynthia Oliver, “Monuments, Myths, and Performing Acts of Memory”

18.00-20.00: Conference Dinner (Atrium)

20.00-21.00: Performance (Queen’s Hall)

Oceana James, "For Gowie the Deceitful Fellow"

Friday December 1, 2017

(University of Copenhagen, Southern Campus)

09.00-09.30: Registration and coffee (Outside 23.0.50)

09.30-10.30: Keynote (23.0.50)

Frandelle Gerard, “The Free Gut Project: Honoring Ancestral Memory”

10.30-11.00: Coffee 

11.00-13.00 Parallel Sessions

Colonial Memories and Affects (23.0.50)

Chair: Mathias Danbolt

David Knight Jr., “Strange Dreams in the Afterglow: Responses to U.S. Sovereignty in Virgin Islands Contemporary Art”

Bart Pushaw, “Contesting the Colonial Subject: Anxious Aesthetics in the Danish Empire, 1922-1938”

Sigrid Lien, “Colonial Shame and Bourgeois Pride: The Story of an Unknown Painting”

Lill-Ann Körber, "'The Gold Coast' (2015) and Economies of Colonial Guilt"

Revisiting Colonial Visualities (27.0.09)

Chair: Louise Wolthers

Åsa Bharati Larsson, “Nordic Colonialism in Late Nineteenth-Century Sweden”

Mette Sandbye, “Negotiating Identity: Photography in Contemporary Greenland”

Christian Vium, “Bricolage-Work in the Brazilian Amazon”

Alice Feldman, “Re/Entangling the Genealogical Imbrications and Inheritances of IrishNigerian Diasporas: The Decolonial Aesthetics of an Archive-Assemblage Practice” 

Strategies of Resistance: Art, Spirituality, Grief Work (27.0.17)

Chair: Lene Myong

Ellen Nyman, “Performative strategies – dimensions of emancipations” 

Michelle Eistrup & Anders Juhl, “(Traces of) the transition of African spirituality via the Americas into (decolonial) art: A perspective from the interdisciplinary platform Bridging Art + Text (BAT)”

Therese Hadchity, “History in the Hurricane Season: Hi-tech and low-tech approaches to the Middle-Passage in a recent exhibition of contemporary Caribbean art”

Doro Wiese, “Caught in a Flash: William Kentridge's Black Box, German Colonial History and the Holocaust”

13.00-14.00: Lunch 

14.00-16.00: Parallel Sessions

Dememorialization / Rememorialization (23.0.50)

Chair: Anne Ring Petersen

Siona O´Connell / Nick Shepard, “A hauntology of Cape Town: snapshots from the edges of history, memory and representation”

Michael K. Wilson, “’The Only Christopher We Acknowledge is Wallace’: Public Monuments, Collective Memory and the (De)memorialization of Coloniality”

Helle Stenum, “Freedom: Memory intervention in space of coloniality”

Emilio Distretti, “On Human Remains: Shifting Grounds in Postcolonial Aesthetics”

Reconfiguring colonial landscapes (27.0.09)

Chair: Mathias Danbolt

David Winfield Norman, “(De)Colonial Space-Time, or Land as Participant”

Helene Engnes Birkeli, “Translation, Sensation and Colonial Landscapes in the Danish West Indies, 1780-1855”

Lena Quelvennec, “#NoDAPL: Drone, landscape and activism”

Kate Keohane, “Édouard Glissant and the Tout-Monde: Global Relation of the Caribbean Landscape in Contemporary Art and Exhibition Practice”.

Revisiting Colonial Heritage: Art, Exhibitions, Landscape (27.0.17)

Chair: Anne Folke Henningsen

Anna Vestergaard, “Hidden, unspoken, and invisible: some approaches towards opening up the darker sides of Danish art institutions”

Lars Jensen, “Unfinished Business? Searching for Postcolonial Europe in the Blind Spots and Racism and Citizenship Exhibitions in Copenhagen and Lisbon” 

Troels Degn Johansson, “Recycling Colonial Cultural Heritage: Superflex’ Porcelain Pirates”

Adam Grydehøj, “Placing Tradition in a Colonial Heritage Landscape: Politics of Visibility and the Difficult Decolonisation of Macau” 

16.00-16.30: Coffee 

16.30-18.00 Plenary Artist Panel (23.0.50)

Colonial Memories, Decolonial Futures

La Vaughn Belle

Jeannette Ehlers

Oceana James

Nanna Debois Buhl

19.00–22.00 Post-conference dinner and book launch event for BAT / Bridging Art + Text, with music & performance at CAMP: Center for Art and Migration Politics. 

Address: CAMP: Center for Art and Migration Politics is located in Trampoline House, Thoravej 7, 2400 Copenhagen NV. (http://campcph.org/). A bus will take conference participants for free from Copenhagen University to CAMP, which is located in the north part of Copenhagen.

BAT is a 3 volume publication edited by Michelle Eistrup and Annemari B Clausen, produced by Anders Juhl & published in collaboration with The Karen Blixen Museum. The overriding themes are: Spirituality, Black Identity and Aesthetics, Art & Independence and Spaces for Art & Literature. Contributers: Artists Christopher Cozier, Gillion Grantsaan, Ebony Patterson, Sasha Huber, Jeannette Ehlers, Charl Landvreugd, Yo-Yo Gonthier, James Muriuki, Curators and Writers Carlos Moore, Françoise Vergès, Britt Kramvig, Nicholas Laughlin, C. Daniel Dawson, Robert Farris Thompson and many more.

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