InterCcECT presents Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History, and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco

Through what processes of mediation, under what circumstances, down which paths of struggle, can colonialist iconography be appropriated for anti-colonial nationalism? What are the wages of the image for the work of sovereignty? Is photography trans-contextual?

InterCcECT is delighted to present Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco, a talk by Patricia Goldsworthy Bishop. Join us Thursday, 5 November, 7pm, at the arts & events space of our partners Sector 2237,2337 N Milwaukee Ave (Blue Line: California).

Talk Abstract:

Throughout the colonial era photographers such as Marcelin Flandrin, an Algerian pied-noir who settled in Morocco at the establishment of the protectorate, collaborated with the government and tourism boards to construct a European vision of North African society and history. Known as the photographer of Casablanca because of his heavy involvement with the Protectorate government, after independence Flandrin’s work was criticized for reproducing Orientalist stereotypes and supporting the colonizing mission. Since the 1980s, however, Moroccan cultural, educational, and financial institutions have reinterpreted Flandrin’s images in order to resituate the protectorate as a part of Moroccan, rather than French, history. This talk traces Flandrin’s transformation from an archetypal French colonial photographer to a part of Moroccan heritage through an analysis of Flandrin’s 1928 and 1956 publications on photographs of the city of Casablanca (Casablanca from 1889 to the Present) and their subsequent reprinting by Moroccan scholars in 1988 (Casablanca Retro). Through the reinterpretation of these images and the appropriation of Flandrin by Moroccans, we can see the process of writing, resisting, and revising history and the instrumental role played by imagery in this process in colonial and post-colonial Morocco.

To propose or announce events, contact us at intercecct @ gmail, or find us on Facebook.

Posted in aesthetics, Chicago, Interccect. Comments Off on InterCcECT presents Casablanca Retro: Colonial Photography, History, and Memory in Postcolonial Morocco

revisiting Cartographies of the Absolute: a lecture by Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle

What must a map of the world depict?  What aesthetic forms can “map” late capitalism, critically disclosing its dynamics and its totalizations?  What is the difference, aesthetically and politically, between a representation of capital and a representation of class antagonism?
InterCcECT is delighted to partner with Gallery 400 for a special lecture by visiting scholars Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle, authors of Cartographies of the Absolute.  Revisiting and revising the themes in their book, Toscano & Kinkle will discuss arts of capitalism and arts of the state.

May we suggest Cartographies in the Los Angeles Review of Books?

Wednesday 2 September, 6:00pm
Gallery 400 Lecture Room
400 S Peoria St

Posted in aesthetics, Chicago, Interccect, Marxism. Comments Off on revisiting Cartographies of the Absolute: a lecture by Alberto Toscano and Jeff Kinkle

tear it down: The Undercommons

Amidst growing protests against systemic and state-administered premature death, and beyond #hashtagactivism, calls for a new black radicalism are resounding.  In The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, Stefano Harney and Fred Moten advocate for “the undercommons” as a subject of such radicalism, “the prophetic organization that works for the red and black abolition…not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons, that could have slavery, that couple have the wage, and therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society.”

Join InterCcECT for a reading group on The UnderCommons, chapters 0-6, on Thursday 9 July, 4pm (purchase the text or follow the link to a free version made available by the publisher).

VENUE CHANGE: La Haven Coffee, 1241 S Michigan.  (Roosevelt Station)

Posted in aesthetics, Chicago, Interccect, race. Comments Off on tear it down: The Undercommons

InterCcECT: The Order of Things

Our session on Foucault’s The Order of Things proved rousing; we’re going to continue with chapters 4 and 5 (“Speaking”; “Classifying”).  Join us again next Monday, 8 June, at 4pm, at Moody’s Pub (in the garden, weather permitting).  As always, InterCcECT welcomes proposals for summer projects; find us on Facebook or send us an email.

Posted in Chicago, Foucault, Interccect. Comments Off on InterCcECT: The Order of Things

words and things

After his critique of the clinic, and as a prolegomena to his theory of power, Michel Foucault outlined a distinct regime of knowledge that pivoted upon a new concept of “representation” – a Kantian sense of the limits of mental representations and the promise of formal representations.  Modern knowledge, for the archaeological Foucault of Les Mots et Les Choses (translated as The Order of Things), is distinguished not only by its representational ethos, but by its agency in generating and congealing worldly relations: once words are thinkable as representation rather than as coincident with things, “discourse” is thinkable as a force of ordering things.

InterCcECT kicks off summer with a multi-session reading group on this crucial moment in Foucault’s thought.  Join us Monday June 1st at 4pm, in the garden at Moody’s Pub (red line: Thorndale).  We’ll be starting with the first three chapters from Part 1 of The Order of Things (Las Meninas, The Prose of the World, & Representing).  Contact us for the readings.

What are your summer ambitions?  As always, we welcome proposals and initiatives for events ranging from reading groups to field trips, works-in-progress sessions to pub afternoons.

In our sights:

Elizabeth Grosz, Nietzsche and Amor Fati May 6

Lee Edelman, with Lauren Berlant and Michelle Wright, May 7 & 8

Elizabeth Grosz, Deleuze and the Plane of Immanence May 8

Jon McKenzie, Remaking the Liberal Arts, May 12

Posted in Chicago, Foucault, Interccect. Comments Off on words and things

Expelling the Demos

If dramatic inequality and profound immiseration are the phenomenological appearance of the manifold contemporary economic technologies for extracting surplus value and enacting surplus populations, these ever more primitive accumulations require thinking beyond the usual terms of “injustice” and “poverty.”  Saskia Sassen has recently proposed the paradigm of “expulsion” to understand today’s plutocratic brutality. In the domain of politics, Wendy Brown has similarly suggested that “the demos” has been expelled from democracy.  What are the interrelations of these dynamics?  InterCcECT is delighted to host a mini-seminar on these questions with Professor Ignacio Sanchez Prado, who will guide us through the first chapters of Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution and Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy.

4pm, 4 May, Institute for the Humanities, UIC

request readings from interccect at gmail dot com

While he’s in town, Professor Sanchez Prado will also give a talk at the University of Chicago on 5 May, “The Golden Age Otherwise: Cosmopolitanism and Mexican Cinema, circa 1950”

Notes on the Magritte exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago

Magritte, La Clairvoyance
Yesterday, The Girlfriend and I went to the special exhibit on Magritte at the Art Institute. During our trip to Brussels, we had visited the Magritte Museum there, which unfortunately seemed to be a holding place for second-tier pieces and first drafts that other museums didn’t want. The quality of the exhibit in Chicago was much higher, but what it really brought home to me was the inherent limits to what Magritte is trying to do.

First of all, Magritte is technically proficient but indifferent as a painter. However interesting his pieces are as images, they are rarely interesting as paintings — it’s as though he chose painting as a medium simply for convenience. Once you get what he’s trying to do, which is often to make the very simplistic point that words and images are not the things themselves, there’s very little to hold one’s attention. I’m also not sure that the sheer existence of repeated motifs (such as the bowler cap) automatically makes them interesting or productive.

In the end, the only pieces that wound up really compelling me were the ones that were elaborate meta-commentaries on the act of painting itself. The Human Condition and Attempting the Impossible were two of my favorites, but for me the best was La Clairvoyance (also pictured above). I was already very familiar with this piece, as a former roommate had a print of it, but beyond the initial visual gag, I noticed a detail I had previously overlooked — the colors on the palette don’t match the black-and-white painting of the bird, but the colors of the surrounding painting itself.

The exhibition space itself was often awkward and unwieldy. Sometimes it seemed purposeful, above all in the room filled with displays of Magritte’s advertising and print work or the seemingly endless sequence of paintings hung on isolated partial walls, but often it just made it difficult to navigate and get a good look at the paintings. And to me, some of the literature surrounding it was patronizing and embarrassing — filled with quotes about how awesome it is that there’s “no right answer” when it comes to interpreting a Magritte painting.

If only it were so! But sadly, for a good 80% of the paintings on display, the “right answer” was immediately evident, and if you didn’t get it, it was pedantically repeated in five other canvases in the same room. I know that Magritte is a crowd-pleaser, but he’s also one of the roots of the contemporary “concept-heavy” art that middle-class audiences, bored with needing to read the description cards before responding, instinctively regard with such scorn.

Posted in art, Chicago. 1 Comment »

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,704 other followers