Recent scholarship on African cinema has expanded the discourse’s historical focus on Francophone West Africa to address other regions, transnational cinemas and film media on the continent and in its diasporas. Other African cinemas, however, continue to be overlooked. Through formal and narrative analysis of several films by Somali film-maker Abdisalam Aato, especially 'Xaaskayga Araweelo' ('My Wife Araweelo', 2006), this article examines the recent phenomenon of Somali narrative cinema as a nationalist cinema in the post-conflict Somali diaspora. Special focus on myth, masculinity and Islamic morality demonstrates these films’ renegotiation of traditional Somali culture, gender roles and identity after the fall of the Somali nation-state. This article argues Aato’s films constitute a destabilised discourse of Somali masculinity in the diaspora. It also argues that these films distinctly engage diasporic crises of identity through their exploration of misandry, in turn expanding discourses on African cinema and diaspora aesthetics.
One of the most significant roles of contemporary art in a globalised world has come to be to mediate between the local and the global, what has come to be discussed under the heading of the glocal. The glocal has been mainly explored through the lens of large-scale curatorial models, such as biennials. However, excessive focus on large-scale transitory events threatens to overlook the potentially fruitful contribution that small-scale projects can make to our understanding of this phenomenon. The same interplay between the local and the global that provided the conditions for the emergence of exemplarily large-scale events led to the emergence of what I call SVAOs (Small Visual Arts Organisations). In this article, I argue that the emergence and proliferation of these spaces worldwide during the 1990s has the potential to challenge existing conceptions of exhibition-making and the mediation between the local and the global in contemporary art.
Chen I-Chun, Phoebe Boswell and Inci Eviner live in different parts of the world: Taiwan is Chen I-Chun’s home, Inci Eviner lives in Turkey, and Phoebe Boswell, who now lives in London, has lived in Kenya and Dubai. The artists are not friends and only two of them speak English; however, their artwork shares a common interest around the self, people, community, art practice and the art object. Sometimes the artworks focus on mythological constructions, which are reconfigured in the case of Chen I-Chun’s animated drawings, while Eviner’s animated drawing entitled 'Beuys Underground' (2017) looks at the destruction of the artist in society. This idea of having a purpose or position is reinforced in Boswell’s artwork 'Mutumia' (2015), which translates as ‘one whose lips are sealed’. In this work, the voices of the women are heard at different times in the animated drawing. What is presented in all of these artists’ work is the staging of destruction and reconstruction of the artist and the art object. There are moments of ambivalence that contribute to destruction and reconstruction. The staging is equally about the known and unknown. This is also reflected in the use of technology as a form of art practice. All these artists have embraced technology as a form of cultural brokerage, and technology itself has a way of destroying or preserving its own innovation. Considering all these points, how can destruction, after the primary burst of creation, be replenished with creativity?
This article examines post-socialist performance art in Serbia and Russia that has sought to challenge official narratives of nationalism and history in these two countries. The 1990s work of Serbian artist Tanja Ostojić is juxtaposed with a series of more recent public interventions by Russian artist Petr Pavlenskii, to explore how performance art has been used to question identity politics – including the politics of erasure and the systematic manipulation and distortion of history and memory – as promoted by nationalist elites. Performances by these artists are interpreted as ‘living archives’, or works that aim to highlight and preserve identities, traditions and historical memories that are otherwise marginalised or effaced. This conceptual framework opens up a new reading of the bond between art and politics, and highlights an alternative (and archival) potential of art as a medium of protest.
Translation studies have moved beyond the phase of discussing translatability and untranslatability of a source text from the linguistic perspective alone. Issues such as gender and language inequality have entered the scene, foregrounding translation as a contextual, political and potentially transformative act. Insofar as translation has to do with a mode of encounter firmly embedded in the ongoing disproportional distribution of knowledge and power, the relation between translation and original lies at the heart of translation as a performance, whereas the question of how to mobilise this relation becomes crucial to appropriating translation as a strategy. This article draws upon the writings of Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak to look into translation as a practice wherein the source text is acted out through the translator and the audience. While these theorists have formulated distinct views in terms of the role of the translator, this article will focus on the notion of failure, which is proposed by Spivak and more thoroughly developed by Hetain Patel and Yuyu Rau in their stage performance 'Who am I? Think Again'. If translation concerns doing something as opposed to merely saying something, this stage work shows that failure is constitutive to translation as a practice and that the performance of failure is productive to translation as a strategy.
A significant portion of philosophical questions concerning the Holocaust revolve around the problem of representation, that is, how the event can be represented in a concept or in an image, if at all. This article argues that 'Nuit et brouillard' (Night and Fog, 1956) by Alain Resnais and 'Inglourious Basterds' by Quentin Tarantino (2009) respond to the problem of representation in an original way by challenging the conventions of their respective genre. The juxtaposition of past and present images in 'Nuit et brouillard' proposes a new form of remembering that liberates memory from the confines of the past in order not to lose sight of what is happening now. 'Inglourious Basterds', similarly, circumvents the problem of realistic representation by means of a counter-historical story in which Hitler is brutally killed in Paris. Pushing to the extreme the Americanisation that is typical of the Hollywood treatments of World War II, Tarantino offers a multi-layered spectacle of violence that culminates in the burning down of a film theatre as a symbol of Tarantino’s having done with representation.
This article explores the norms, spaces, positions and conditions of visibility for non-white refugees and migrants as well as white non-refugee characters in 'Dheepan' (Jacques Audiard, 2015), a film that received much praise for its humane representation of refugees and won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Through a close analysis, this article aims to demonstrate a number of recurring elements that are often determined by imaginations of race in European film productions that represent refugees and migrants. Analysing the film, along with its production and reception, this study shows how European whiteness remains the invisible norm of non-violence, while the non-whiteness of the displaced remains outside this norm and is visibly and unquestionably locked into acts, positions, objects (holding a machete) and spaces of violence and crisis (the jungle, the refugee camp, the banlieue, the darkness of a cellar).
THIRD TEXT is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group