Edward George, the writer, researcher, presenter and actor in the Black Audio Film Collective documentary ‘Last Angel of History’, returns to the film to elaborate on the research, writing and performative components of his role(s) in the film, and the ways in which the film constitutes a citational work through its revision of the evocation of Africa in Afrofuturism and its engagement with black unpopular culture, its presentation, through its science fiction narrative, of a lost Pan Africa and an African Diasporic memory of slavery, and the use of his body as the medium through which the film’s fictional and historical concerns are integrated.
Conventional wisdom holds that the Stasi policed East German artists because of their potential dissident and ideological production. In contrast, Cornelia Schleime’s ‘Stasi Series’ (1993) reveals the secret police’s preoccupation with her domesticity as a sign of her rebellion. For the photo-text series, the artist assigns fourteen excerpts of her Stasi file to as many self-portrait photographs. The images and texts inform each other, providing a biographical sketch of Schleime’s life in two temporalities (the 1980s and 1993) and from two seemingly incommensurate perspectives (the Stasi and her own). The Stasi files document in careful detail Schleime’s private life in the years that immediately preceded her 1984 emigration. Although the truth of these texts is suspect, the artist does not completely discredit them. Rather, she unites her file to her 1993 present by performing its contents in photographs that exhibit both mockery and resignation. This article considers how the artist’s use of her archive reveals as much about the limitations of her Stasi source as it does about her unique perspective as both subject and interpreter. It examines Schleime’s project in relation to contemporary archival and surveillance-oriented art practices to demonstrate how the ‘Stasi Series’ adds to their concerns over information and power, memory and document, observation and self-representation.
In 2001, artists Broomberg and Chanarin documented a day in the Iraq war. The result was a visual yet non-descript narrative, achieved with light and presence; a physical documentation of their journey titled ‘The Day Nobody Died’. In 1968 photojournalist Eddie Adams captured ‘Saigon Execution’ in Vietnam, also a war-time image but with the lens of reportage. The former is a rendition of their experience, not bound by the constraints and facets of aestheticising fact. The latter was presented as news and was the receiver of outrage and scrutiny as such. This article explores how representations of humanitarian crises and wartime are complicit in their perpetuation, and how art demonstrates an attempt at representing such events as futile. We seek to establish a link between what is viewed and what is reported; what is seen and what remains outside the picture; an attempt to unravel what the difference is between viewing and witnessing.
This article examines a neglected example of slavery visualisation by Guyanese artist Stanley Greaves (1934–present). The work is called ‘Slave Stock’ and is a unique example of abstract constructive sculpture made in 1965 while Greaves was studying at Newcastle University in the UK, where his tutors included Pop artist Richard Hamilton. After winning prizes in Newcastle and Guyana after Greaves’s return in 1968, ‘Slave Stock’ entered the latter’s National Collection but was mysteriously destroyed sometime in the 1970s. In 2018, over fifty years since its original conception, Greaves reconstructed this major lost work. Drawing on correspondence with the artist, this written reconstruction of ‘Slave Stock’ locates its production and reception in relation to Greaves’s trajectory, encompassing his early artistic development in the context of British colonial education and Guyana’s ongoing independence struggle, as well as his engagement with transnational modernisms and wider histories of slavery visualisation and memorialisation.
Recent exhibitions and publications evidence an increased focus in the artworld on non-human animals. I take this trend as an opportunity to assess the intersection of contemporary art and critical animal studies and posthumanism. I first offer an account of this phenomenon, and put forward an argument for the role art can take in negotiating human–animal boundaries through an analogy between art/non-art and human/animal. I then interpret three artworks included in the exhibition ‘Heavenly Beings: Neither Human nor Animal’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2018: Franc Purg’s ‘Where is the Line?’ (1998), Maja Smrekar’s ‘K-9\_topology: Hybrid Family’ (2016) and Anton Vidokle’s ‘Immortality and Resurrection for All!’ (2017). Focusing on slaughter, interspecies kinship, and life after death, respectively, these artworks are provocative within the meeting of art and animal studies, but have not received sufficient analysis.
THIRD TEXT is published in print and online by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group