Keynotes and Conversation with Tina Campt and Renée Mussai
of the exhibition “Zanele Muholi”
As part of the Zanele Muholi exhibition’s closing weekend, Tina Campt, Black feminist theorist of visual culture and contemporary art, will deliver a keynote titled Gazing While Black: Black Bodies, White Cube Spaces. This is followed by a keynote of Renée Mussai, curator and scholar of photography and lens-based media, titled Other/Wise – Notes on Curatorial Care, Visual Activism, and Seeing with Different Eyes.
With an introduction by Anne-Marie Beckmann (Director of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation); moderated by Natasha Ginwala (Associate Curator, Gropius Bau)
- 1,5 h
Other/Wise – Notes on Curatorial Care, Visual Activism, and Seeing with Different Eyes
In this keynote, Renée Mussai will reflect on critical curatorial labour and visual activism via a series of episodic fragments, introducing both archival and contemporary arts practices as intimate sites of care, commitment, and contemplation – and as remedial-decolonial praxis of seeing other/wise. Through the prism of curatorial research initiatives such as Autograph’s Black Chronicles programmes, the archive is activated as a radical locus for new knowledge production and the recovery of ‘lost’ image ecologies pivotal to politics of diasporic visibility, different futurities, and contemporary consciousness. Embedded at the core of her presentation are the crucial voices – and eyes – of a constituency of artists whose work advocates for social justice, self-representation and visual equity, as well as the notion of curatorial care as a living, breathing black feminist embodied praxis of collaboration and (re)imagining. Excerpts from Mussai’s ongoing Letters to Zanele Muholi alongside brief reflections on their auto-portrait photographic memoir Somnyama Ngonyama as potent visual elixir serve as choralist leitmotif throughout.
Tina Campt is Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities Brown University, and is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Art and Archeology at Princeton University. Campt heads the Black Visualities Initiative at the Cogut Institute for Humanities and is the convener of the Practicing Refusal Collective and the Sojourner Project. She is the author four monographs and one edited collection: Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (2004), Image Matters: Archive, Photography, and the African Diaspora in Europe (2012), Listening to Images (2017), Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography (with Hirsch, Hochberg and Willis, 2020) and A Black Gaze (2021).
Renée Mussai is a London-based research-led curator and scholar with a special interest in African and diasporic lens-based visual arts practices. She is Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collection at Autograph, where she has worked for almost two decades, advocating for a diverse constituency of contemporary artists and co-commissioning a range of artistic programmes, including the critically acclaimed “Black Chronicles” (2014–2018, publication forthcoming) and “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama – Hail the Dark Lioness” (2017–2021), amongst many projects. She lectures internationally on photography, visual culture, and curatorial activism and recently edited the award-winning monograph “Lina Iris Viktor: Some Are Born to Endless Night – Dark Matter” (Autograph, 2020), served as guest co-editor for a Critical Arts special volume entitled “Ecologies of Care: Speculative Photographies, Curatorial Re-Positionings” (Taylor & Francis, 2020), and co-edited the anthology “Care, Contagion, Community – Self & Other” (Autograph, 2021). Mussai is also Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg; Associate Lecturer at University of the Arts London, and regular guest curator and former Fellow at the Hutchins Centre for African & African American Research at Harvard University. She serves on numerous art juries and advisory committees, including Fast Forward: Women in Photography, and the Royal Photographic Society.
Part of the public programme Forms of Insistence, Tenderness and Refuge, supported by Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation