John-Michael Warner (Friday Lecture Series)

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Friday, December 4, 2015 - 12:00pm to Saturday, December 5, 2015 - 12:45pm

John-Michael Warner, assistant professor of art history at the Kent State University School of Art, presents "The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands and the Limits of Photography and Film" as part of the school's ongoing Friday lecture series. The lecture will take place Friday, Dec. 4, at noon in the Art Building, Room 202.


Through a nuanced analysis of photography and film depicting the American Southwest and northern Mexico, arguably, some contemporary art resists monolithic and nationalistic forms of hegemonic history. Mark Klett’s Palm at the Site of Japanese Internment Camp, Poston, Arizona, 1985, David Taylor’s Working the Line, 2008-Present, and Mary Jenea Sanchez’s Historias en la Camioneta, 2010 engage with the complexity of producing borderlands knowledges, reveal hidden histories embedded in location, and sustain existing communities. While concurrently examining technologies that maintain nations and nationalisms, the artforms deconstruct causal relationships between geography and the assumptive power and authority of the nation-state, as well as the politicization of the human body. Pushing the limits of photography and film, Palm at the Site of Japanese Internment Camp, Working the Line, and Historias en la Camioneta bear witness to a range of often-unheard human experiences, or what feminist and postcolonial scholar Guyatri Spivak describes as “the vanishing present." Klett, Taylor, and Sanchez discern the U.S.-Mexico borderlands through their use of land and representation of the landscape as well as render visible some forms of state production such as laws and treaties that are used to mark people as suspect.