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Revisioning Congo DR-Sweden: From a suppressed colonial photographic heap to acollaborative decolonial counter-archive
University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Department of Fine Art.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3004-2813
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed) [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

This talk will discuss how the art project Les Archives Suédoises brings a repressed part of colonialhistory into the open by re-contextualising and reworking a hidden trove of historical glass-platenegatives photographed by Swedish missionaries in the Congo 1890 – 1930. How we narrateand organize memories has a bearing on how we orient ourselves within our globalized world –and a discourse of innocence has allowed Sweden to claim a neutral position as an objectiveobserver, building a narrative and self-image of a humanitarian superpower. Using the term´colonialism without colonies´ as a way of framing a discussion around how colonialism hasaffected societies that do not acknowledge a colonial complicity, we unbox and unfold piles ofdecaying photographic materials stored in private attics by heirs of missionaries.Swedish missionaries were in fact one of the main actors in the Congo, and missionary lanternlecturesvisited chapels, schools and libraries in Sweden up until the sixties. For many Swedesthis was their first encounter with Africa, and the images have thus had a profound influence onof how Africa was imagined in Sweden. In the Congo DR on the other hand, not manyphotographs from the historical period remain. The missionaries were also part of a processwhereby they documented the existing culture – then set out to do their best to change, ordestroy it. How can we confront these images today, from a Swedish perspective, where thereis great reluctance to remember this part of our history? And from a Congolese perspective,where the photographs both bear witness to the suffering of the people living throughcolonization, and depict village life and traditions? A intercultural collaboration betweenCongolese artist Freddy Tsimba, Swedish artists Anna Ekman and myself resulted in a series ofsite-specific installations in Sweden and the Congo, looking beyond our own context-specifichistories and addressing the traumatic memory left in both nations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
Humanities and the Arts
Research subject
Humaniora; Arts
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:konstfack:diva-7069OAI: oai:DiVA.org:konstfack-7069DiVA, id: diva2:1374360
Conference
Techniques of Memory Landscape, Iconoclasm, Medium and Power Spring 2019 Symposium Wednesday-Thursday, April 17-18, 2019, David Brower Center, Berkeley, CA
Available from: 2019-11-29 Created: 2019-11-29 Last updated: 2019-12-04Bibliographically approved

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Techniques of Memory(660 kB)1 downloads
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726f0d0392ff25189a347662cfd3dc47840810a687729a4c80ccd324d7cb0e37eaa5481b924fac601a72dd144adca98075cc2123da958a0d21775b0ba160f931
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Järdemar, Cecilia
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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