Reflecting on the influence of the concept of hantologie (hauntology) formulated by Jacques Derrida in Spectres de Marx (1993) on the work of the artist, director and videomaker John Akomfrah, the essay examines five artworks – Handsworth Songs (1986), Peripeteia (2012), Auto Da Fé (2016), Tropikos (2015) and Vertigo Sea (2015) – in which the artist deals with the questions of how the present is over-determined by a series of absences, which are not necessarily tactile but they are active, and explores the agency of those forces in what he calls “the processes of becoming” of diasporic subjects in colonial and postcolonial England, as well as in the life of refugees and migrants over a period of more than five centuries. At the same time, those artworks address issues such as the “enigma of disappearance” of migrant communities from the national narratives, the absence of monuments that attest to their presence in western cities, and the double nature of the archive, as both a diasporic monument that preserve fragments of their stories and as a repository of materials used by to build the official discourse about the diaspora and the immigrants. In the work of Akomfrah the “spectres” the Black Diaspora have can therefore an ambivalent nature: they are both the forgotten that ask for an act of rescue from oblivion and the active absences that comes from the past to haunt the present to keep memories alive and fight against amnesia.

Gli “spettri” della Black Diaspora nell’opera di John Akomfrah

Paola Valenti
2019

Abstract

Reflecting on the influence of the concept of hantologie (hauntology) formulated by Jacques Derrida in Spectres de Marx (1993) on the work of the artist, director and videomaker John Akomfrah, the essay examines five artworks – Handsworth Songs (1986), Peripeteia (2012), Auto Da Fé (2016), Tropikos (2015) and Vertigo Sea (2015) – in which the artist deals with the questions of how the present is over-determined by a series of absences, which are not necessarily tactile but they are active, and explores the agency of those forces in what he calls “the processes of becoming” of diasporic subjects in colonial and postcolonial England, as well as in the life of refugees and migrants over a period of more than five centuries. At the same time, those artworks address issues such as the “enigma of disappearance” of migrant communities from the national narratives, the absence of monuments that attest to their presence in western cities, and the double nature of the archive, as both a diasporic monument that preserve fragments of their stories and as a repository of materials used by to build the official discourse about the diaspora and the immigrants. In the work of Akomfrah the “spectres” the Black Diaspora have can therefore an ambivalent nature: they are both the forgotten that ask for an act of rescue from oblivion and the active absences that comes from the past to haunt the present to keep memories alive and fight against amnesia.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/1008077
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