Public lecture, Clark Art Institute
March 12, 2019
Invited public lecture drawn from new research on representations of migrants and migration. I was a fellow in residence at the Clark, through its Research and Academic Program, in the spring of 2019.
Lecture abstract: Strategic Invisibilities: Migration and Post-Representation
This lecture explores post-representational strategies employed by artists making work about, and with, migrants and migration in contemporary France. In dialogue with recent theoretical writing focused on the documentary impulse in contemporary art (with a focus on photography and film), it attempts to think with artistic strategies that work to decenter the image of the migrant as an anchor of truth claims, rights claims, and recognition, and that privilege instead novel forms of abstraction, redaction, non-representational cartography, occupation, and post-participatory collaboration. I situate the work discussed in relation to contemporary theories both of documentary and of representation, which I ultimately also challenge. Works discussed include photographs taken by Jacqueline Salmon at Sangatte and those taken by Adel Tincelin in the so-called “jungle of Calais,” Sylvain George’s experimental documentary film, Qu’ils reposent en révolte… [May They Rest in Revolt…], also shot in the “jungle,” and a hybrid urban planning and public art project, Réinventer Calais.