Tuesday 9th April 2019, 8:00pm
Session 211: “Unlearning Decisive Moments of Photography” by Ariella Azoulay
For this session, Sabine Hagmann selected Ariella Azoulay’s contribution to the blog Still Searching… of Fotomuseum Winterthur (06.09.–31.10.2018).
Ariella Azouly asks us to imagine that the origins of photography go back to 1492. The invention of the New World and the invention of photography are not unrelated. Photography was invented in a world in which slavery, settler colonialism, expropriation and appropriation were normalized.
Suggesting that the origins of photography go back to 1492 is an attempt to undermine the imperial temporality that was imposed at that time, enabling people to believe, experience, and describe interconnected things as if they were separate, each defined by newness. We therefore should unlearn the origins of photography as framed by those who were crowned its inventors and other private and state entrepreneurs, as well as its association with a technology that can be reduced to discrete devices held by individual operators.
The posts have their origin in Ariella Azoulay’s forthcoming book Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (New York: Verso, 2019).