Seminar: Tina Campt “A Black Gaze”
Milieux Institute / Concordia University, 1515 Saint-Catherine Street West, EV Building 11.705, Montreal
Join Tina Campt for a seminar discussion on her 2021 book, A Black Gaze: Artists Changing How We See. In A Black Gaze, Tina Campt examines Black contemporary artists who are shifting the very nature of our interactions with the visual through their creation and curation of a distinctively Black gaze. Their work–from Deana Lawson’s disarmingly intimate portraits to Arthur Jafa’s videos of the everyday beauty and grit of the Black experience, from Kahlil Joseph’s films and Dawoud Bey’s photographs to the embodied and multimedia artistic practice of Okwui Okpokwasili, Simone Leigh, and Luke Willis Thompson–requires viewers to do more than simply look; it solicits visceral responses to the visualization of Black precarity.
Campt shows that this new way of seeing shifts viewers from the passive optics of looking at to the active struggle of looking with, through, and alongside the suffering–and joy–of Black life in the present. The artists whose work Campt explores challenge the fundamental disparity that defines the dominant viewing practice: the notion that Blackness is the elsewhere (or nowhere) of whiteness. These artists create images that flow, that resuscitate and revalue the historical and contemporary archive of Black life in radical ways. Writing with rigor and passion, Campt describes the creativity, ingenuity, cunning, and courage that is the modus operandi of a Black gaze.
Tina Campt is Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor of Humanities in the Department of Art and Archeology and the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Campt is a black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art and the founding convener of the Practicing Refusal Collective and the Sojourner Project. Her early work theorized gender, racial, and diasporic formation in black communities in Europe and southern Africa, and the role of vernacular photography in historical interpretation. Campt has published five books including: A Black Gaze (MIT Press, 2021); Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017); Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (Duke University Press, 2012); and Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (University of Michigan Press, 2004). Her co-edited collection, Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography (with Marianne Hirsch, Gil Hochberg, and Brian Wallis Steidl, 2020), received the 2020 Photography Catalogue of the Year award from Paris Photo and Aperture Foundation.
This seminar is sponsored by the Feminist Media Studio, IFRC, The Black Perspectives Office, Post Image Lab
The Post Image acknowledges additional funding support from OVPRGS and SSHRC