Deadline: Aug 15, 2014

View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture
No. 7: Postcolonial Image Archives

“These archives smell of vinegar and not of ashes. They are not grey.
Their colors are white, light blue and green, and sepia. These are not
shades of total destruction but rather of an ongoing decay.” This
poetic description by Tobias Hering concerns African film archives,
their condition, and our (lack of) memory of them. It might also
reveal a certain aspect of a Western way of thinking which forces us
to represent postcolonial countries as colorful and entropic
landscapes of ruin. However this image seems much more complex,
multilayered and (while acknowledging the controversial status of this
term) hybrid. What is the character of the images sitting in these

As a point of departure in issue 7 of “View” (3/2014) we would like to
take precisely the colors and smells of non-European visual archives,
and examine the narratives surrounding them. We would like to analyze
the meaning of archiving / collecting / gathering in a context other
than Western, and those discourses that allow one to speak of it. We
would also like to address the ambivalence of Western narratives and
images which depict the “postcolonial situation”: do they reveal more
of ourselves than of the countries and problems they directly relate
to? Last but not least, we would like to ask: is there such a thing as
a “postcolonial image” what is it like?

We are especially interested in visual archives devoted to the
postcolonial condition that are either institutional (e.g. Southern
African Freedom Struggles, c.1950-1994) or private (e.g. Gadalla
Gubara’s film archive), as well as projects dealing with the history
and decline of postcolonial archives (eg. Filipa César’s work with
Guinea-Bissau film archives), projects concentrated on the production
of images in a postcolonial context (e.g. Jan Simon working in
Nigeria, Catarina Simão undertaking the theme of film production in
Mozambique), and projects devoted to images of postcolonial amnesia
(e.g. Christine Meissner). We would also like to comment on images of
(postcolonial) ambivalence: both historical examples (such as the
films of Jean Rouch, Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, Glauber Rocha’s O
Leão de Sete Cabeças), and contemporary (Renzo Martens’ Enjoy Poverty,
Jørgen Leth’s Haiti. Untitled). We are also interested in
institutional aspects of this phenomenon: in the way non-European
museums of photography establish their collections (e.g. Instituto
Moreira Salles), and the way “postcolonial images” and their curators
(e.g. Okwui Enwezor) function in the art field.

Deadline for submitted texts: 15th August 2014.

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Reference / Quellennachweis:
CFP: View, issue 7: Postcolonial Image Archives. In: H-ArtHist, May 8,
2014. <>.

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