OCAD University Open Research Repository

An Insufficient Record//Exploring the photo-ethics of preserving of Black Vancouver

Lewis, Nanyamka S (2022) An Insufficient Record//Exploring the photo-ethics of preserving of Black Vancouver. Masters thesis, OCAD University.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Lewis, Nanyamka S
Abstract:

An Insufficient Record: The Photo Ethics of preserving Black Vancouver theorizes the afterlife of the City of Vancouver photographic archive, concerning the history of insufficient representation of Black Vancouverites and their lives in public space. A conduit for dialogical and collaborative collecting methodologies, the proposed exhibit intervenes with the archive, outlining a curatorial approach that identifies, contextualizes, and makes accessible reflections of the multiplicity of Blackness in Vancouver. Re-presenting and re-positioning 17 gelatin mugshots acquired from the City of Vancouver archive, An Insufficient Record malleablizes the varying vital relationship between the image and its object of representation, assessing the photographic constructions of race, the politics of human rights, identity formations, national narratives, and cultural memory. Juxtaposed within a new and speculatively valuable resource, the mugshots are presented with 50 portraits of Black and African self-identifying people, taken with clear subject autonomy. The archival images are assembled from official municipal holdings, provincial holdings, public arts and culture organizations, and special collections. Challenging the insufficient depository of knowledge contributing to the historical trajectory of restricting representations of Blackness to caricature, ethnographic object, or criminal, the proposed exhibit takes on a kind of cultural translation, examining the possibilities and structural limitations of transforming penal spectatorship to a participatory re-shaping and reading of the carceral images. An Insufficient Record exposes the strategic erasure of nuanced Black representation, which enables the City of Vancouver’s insufficient fonds to exist without question or complication. Speculating the role of curation and documentation in supporting collective movements beyond the public archive, the proposed exhibit visualizes and reinforces Black personal, political, and social presence. The curatorial space-making gesture imagines a system of photographic presentation and organization that engages Black Vancouver communities in the re-representation of their histories, and responds to demands to participate in national discourses of belonging to Canada’s past and present, readdressing historiographical challenges and their impact on archival record.

Date: May 2022
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black Canadian, Black Vancouver
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Criticism and Curatorial Practice
Date Deposited: 13 May 2022 18:25
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 18:25
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/3763

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