Material history of the university

Can we rely on what objects have to tell us? Which (hi)stories are objects telling us? Which is the potency and the agency of objects?

This photographic series ponders upon the idea of material history. It is a collection of objects found at the street known as “couloir de la mort” (death row) located in the campus of the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.

Handle with care

captura-de-pantalla-2017-02-12-a-las-13-24-09More and more I reflect upon the need to respect oneself. I have lived a life of lies. Disguising myself, trying to fit in the schemes of other broken selves.

What a better way to look at oneself than with the warning of “Handle with care”? Fanon argues that “a member of a colonized people must be constantly aware of his position, his image; he is being threatened from all sides”. Which selves are we reflecting-creating? How can I look at myself in the mirror without being frightened of what it brings about?

There is no king without a custom

The genealogy of politics has been closely tied with the animals’ nature. The sagacity of the fox, the fierceness of the tiger, the domain of the lion, the silent steps of the pigeon, the sneakiness of the mouse, the force of the rhinoceros.

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We have gradually lost our self-description as animals, as mammals. Plato says that humans were second rate animals, and that this disadvantageous situation could be seen in how our nails had become a mockery of claws. Our skin is also fragile, unprotected. We arm ourselves with the skin of the strong. Furthermore, it is with the animals’ horns, figurative phallus, with which men re-invigorate themselves to rule. There are no animal vaginas portrayed as powerful. How would the world look like when we are all –finally- naked? When we recover our own bodies and the phallus will no longer be erected as the sole monument of government.

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The power comes with garments, there are hierarchies of symbols and of clothes. The skin of the one becomes the crown of the other. Every political act is a performative act. 

There is no king without a costume. There are no queens without thrones. Does every political act need a stage for it to be believed upon?

Part of the “Multiple Gazes of a Country’s Photographed Past“, a publication by African Photography Initiatives – APhILink to the publication