An adventurous search for the view of the ‘other’.
We have grown up with clichés about ‘other’ cultures. We still come across them. Wild and dangerous North American Natives wearing feathers, Aboriginals as cannibals, circle-dancing Pygmies, lazy, sexy, free Africans, mysterious Arabs and Earsterners etc etc.
All those images were constructed by western culture. The emphasis is on the differences. The ‘others’ involved had to implement those images.
In this blog I take a dive into how the images were constructed, starting with the people who were exhibited in a first boom of mass culture: freak shows, world fairs, zoos. I try to go beyond my embarrassment and look at analyses; the events laying the foundation for the clichés occurred at the time of colonialism, as a means to defend the greedy behavior before the general public. My idea is that it mostly comes down to greed, to implement a hierarchy in order to grab land, resources, work power.
The white male came out on top of the hierarchy as the smartest, the bravest, the dominant.
I look at how it continues today and how people react: in the ‘othered’ cultures, but also in the West as, of course, many have protested. I look at how art treats the subject.
What can we find out about the ‘other’ cultures? What can we learn and how? How to develop new ways? Can we imagine a reversed history?
It is an artistic research. I am trying to find my position in the thematic of ‘othering’ and translate the research into my work.
Antje Van Wichelen
Funding: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie for Brussels, Trajectory program
Hosting: Constant vzw
Programming: John Haltiwanger /OSPublishing
Design: Dear reader