By Roger I. Simon
Explores the curating of “difficult wisdom” in the course of the exhibition of lynching images in modern museums.
This amazing comparative examine at the curating of “difficult wisdom” specializes in museum exhibitions that awarded an analogous lynching pictures. via an in depth description of the exhibitions and drawing on interviews with museum employees and customer reviews, Roger I. Simon explores the affective demanding situations to concept that lie at the back of different curatorial frameworks and the way audience’ reviews at the exhibitions practice a specific dialog approximately race in the United States. He then extends the dialogue to incorporate contrasting exhibitions of images of atrocities dedicated through the German military at the jap entrance in the course of international battle II, in addition to to pictures taken on the Khmer Rouge S-21 torture and killing heart. With an insightful mixing of theoretical and qualitative research, Simon proposes new conceptualizations for a modern public pedagogy devoted to bearing witness to the records of racism
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Extra resources for A Pedagogy of Witnessing: Curatorial Practice and the Pursuit of Social Justice
That is, Bal directs us to the question of the possible ways an exhibition’s miseen-scène might help frame, forge, and support a mode of public vision within which the affective force of images could be directed toward thought regarding one’s responsibilities in the face of the felt injunction to bear witness to the scenes of suffering just encountered. As we shall see below, what constitutes such a practice of bearing witness is very much an open question. However, as Bal’s comments suggest the question of what constitutes bearing witness to an encounter with the scenes of suffering and death presented in an exhibition at the very least opens a curatorial consideration of the possible relation between affect and thought, a relation (it bears repeating) whose precise content can never be specified in advance.
National Historic Site in Atlanta, noted that “[i]f we put these photographs back into the trunks, or slide them back into the crumbling envelopes and conceal them in a corner of the drawer, we deny to the victims, once again, the witness they deserve. ”33 For Jordan, the public exhibition of recontextualized, recovered images taken at lynchings was a way of allowing the dead “to speak” and in doing so make claims on those living in the present. 34 However, such assertions only beg the question: In what sense can it be said that an exhibition of photographs “testifies”?
There is a warranted, acute equivocation regarding the practice of publicly displaying photographs of death and suffering, even when it is done as a call to a witness that would recognize loss, initiate a demand for justice, and warn against as the destructive consequences of racism (or other forms of discrimination and oppression). Clearly, there is long history of the public display of visual imagery depicting violence and violations not only as a demand for justice for past crimes but as well to mobilize transformations in existing and future social relations.
A Pedagogy of Witnessing: Curatorial Practice and the Pursuit of Social Justice by Roger I. Simon