© Charif Benhelima Sea View, Black-Out 2007
UNFIXED is a project that explores the relation between photography, postcolonial perspectives and contemporary art. It includes an exhibition, symposium, workshop, artist commission-residency, and a resulting publication. The title refers to the UNFIXED nature of photography. It explores photography's relationship to ideas of ethnicity, culture and identity in contemporary art.
UNFIXED features contributions from: Keith Piper (UK), Otobong Nkanga (FR/NG), Naro Snackey (NL), Hank Willis Thomas (US), Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie (US), Charif Benhelima (BE) Kobena Mercer (UK) Yamini Nayar (US), Sandim Mendes (NL), Habda Rashid (UK), Terry Kurgan (ZA), Vandy Rattana (KH), Lizza May David (DE), Yamini Nayar (US), Sandim Mendes (NL), Habda Rashid (UK), Terry Kurgan (ZA), Vandy Rattana (KH) and Lizza May David (DE).
Publication: December 2011
Keith Piper Artist Residency: July – August 2010
Exhibition: 23 October – 5 December 2010
Workshop: 15 November 2010
Symposium: 16 November 2010
The project is initiated and developed by independent curators Sara Blokland and Asmara Pelupessy through their nonprofit, Stichting UNFIXED Projects.
Currently, photography is understood to create and produce truths, as opposed to simply capturing fixed or objective reality. Photographs are no longer only seen as representations, but as elements of complex visual discourses in postcolonial debate. Within the discourse of colonialism, photography contributed to the construction and dissemination of the cultural or racial Other as essentially and fundamentally different, fixed within difference.
In recent decades, artists and theorists around the world have critically reflected on photography’s role in colonial, migrant and diasporic histories. They have UNFIXED photography, questioning the process of production, who is looking, whose history is represented and what the photographic image is staging. In this line, UNFIXED proposes an encounter with photography's own reflective history, looking back while looking forward, continuing to dissolve ideas of photographic truth and cultural identity as essential and unchanging through photographic practices that are innovative, self-reflexive and critical.
UNFIXED aims to contribute to the Netherlands’ relatively young discussion about postcolonialism’s relation to photography. The project brings together an international a group of contemporary artists and scholars with personal relations to migration, colonial history and cultural diaspora, researching and reflecting on photographic histories, as well as constructing new ones. UNFIXED avoids imposing narratives about the past and future onto the project’s artworks, presentations and essays. Instead, we embrace the narratives and strategies proposed in the works as points of departure. In the same fashion as many of the invited artists, UNFIXED hopes to blur the lines between art practice, scholarly research and cultural activism.
For a dutch version of this text please see this page
Een Nederlandse versie van deze tekst kunt u op deze pagina lezen
ARTICLE ON UNFIXED FROM KUNSTBEELD MAGAZINE (#11 2010 in Dutch) CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PDF