Hand to eye

a dialogue

Says the hand to the eye: look here, I am holding a friend, holding my child, I am holding on to my charm, to the clothing they asked me to take off, to the sword they gave me. I am hanging limp from the chair’s back, laying in my bodies lap. I am open, I am closed, I am stressed, I am resigned.

The eye to the hand: I feel you, sister.

You look young. You look old. You look strong and powerful to me.

Turn the handle for me, hand. Keep on turning. Let me look into the light and the chemicals that draw your trace.

Troubled Archives participates in Everything passes except the past in Turin

EVERYTHING PASSES EXCEPT THE PAST | TUTTA PASSA TRANNE IL PASSATO: Which role takes photography in a culture of memory? What are the ethical implications for the use of colonial images and how to overcome their unsettling narratives?

The exhibition Everything Passes Except The Past presents photography and lens-based art works by Bianca Baldi, Alessandra Ferrini, Grace Ndiritu and the collective Troubled Archives (Michael Murtaugh, Rokia Bamba, Antje Van Wichelen) that confront, challenge and repurpose the colonial gaze. They expose the colonial image archive as being a power instrument of social regimentation and point to the potential for critical redesign.

Grazie Mille to the wonderful team of Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Troubled Archives collective about their collaborations path

Troubled Archives

The story of how an individual artistic research into archives becomes a collective and at times community driven project

Troubled Archives is a collective name for the collaboration between Rokia Bamba, Brenda Bikoko, Loes Jacobs, Michael Murtaugh, Peggy Pierrot, and Antje Van Wichelen.

The collective contributed this article to Roots-Routes magazine.

Troubled Archives collective

The Troubled Archives collective is selected for the Dakar Biënnal
I ndaffa
2020. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the Biënnal is postponed to a later date.

Expo in Cologne

The NOISY IMAGES expo I made with Rokia Bamba and SICV (Michael Murtaugh and Nicolas Malevé) and the help of many others* is now over and packed. Photoszene photographer and videast Silviu Guiman made this terrific video of the two central installations.

Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum Kulturen der Welt | Cultures of the World
Artist meets Archive. Internationales Photoszene-Festival Köln
Direktion | Directorate
Nanette Snoep, Dr. Oliver Lueb
Kuratorin | Curator
Lucia Halder
Ausstellungsgestaltung | Exhibition Design
Architekt Jonathan Haehn
Production team film installation
Antje Van Wichelen, Rokia Bamba, Loes Jacobs, Els Van Riel, Ludo Engels, Trudo Engels, LaboBXL, L’abominable, DeJonghe Film Postproduction
Sound design
Rokia Bamba
Production team The Recognition Machine
Antje Van Wichelen, SICV, Michael Murtaugh, Nicolas Maleve, Brenda Bikoko, Rokia Bamba, Milena Desse, Loes Jacobs, Jonathan Haehn, Koen Daems (advice)
Production team texts
Antje Van Wichelen, Peggy Pierrot, Rokia Bamba, Anna Seiderer, Estelle Lecaille, Brenda Bikoko, Alexander Schellow
Grafisches Konzept | Graphic Design
Carmen Strzlecki
Medien | Media
Els van Riel, Ludo Engels, Michael Murtaugh, Süleyman Atalayin, Dagmar Pütz
Restaurierung & Aufbau | Conservation & Construction
Christian Andert, Birgit Depenbrock, Ralf Eidneier, Kristina Hopp, Manfred Littfin
Beleuchtung | Lighting
Andreas Kirchner, Sabri Sghir, Ayhan Aksu, Hans-Georg Hüser
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit | PR
Judith Glaser, Jana Strippel
Museumspädagogisches Programm | Museum’s Pedagogic Programme
Peter Mesenhöller
Verwaltung | Administration
Nicole Golombek, Heike Hermann, Gaby Sawer
Bibliothek | Library
Martin Malewski
Ehrenamtliche Mitarbeit | Volunteer
Karla Meyer
Kooperationspartner | Cooperation
Internationale Photoszene Köln
Workspace Brussels
Labo BXL
Förderer | Sponsors
Museumsgesellschaft RJM
Region Flandern
Gemeente Elsene
Moleskine Foundation
Museumsshop | Museum Shop
Katharina Krebs
Archives participating
Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen (NL), Koninklijk Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde (B), IMDB Berlin (D), Pitt Rivers Museum (GB), Musée du quai Branly (Fr), Rautenstrauch Joest Museum –
Kulturen der Welt, Köln (D), KMMA/Afrikamuseum (B)

Felwine Sarr and the Brussels’ Muntpunt library

I was so lucky to be invited to the Museum Collections in Motion conference in Cologne last month. It was incredibly interesting to witness the confrontation between the discourse of (some) members of the European museum staff and some African researchers and museum staff.


To not go into long descriptions of the lively discussions, I want to briefly say that it was palpable how high the stakes for the African culture heritage defenders were and are. The question of recuperating the artworks that left their territories in today unlawful circumstances is a very important one for the knowledge and the future of the continent. And for future relations between Europe and Africa.

Felwine Sarr was present as a keynote speaker. He is an angel of peace and patience. Together with Bénédicte Savoy, he wrote the terrific study Restituer le patrimoine africain. Vers une nouvelle éthique relationelle.
A must read if you are interested. This widely translated book stems from a study ordered by the french president Emmanuel Macron, after his decision to restitute all unlawfully taken objects and manuscripts to the rightful owners. The authors were asked to research how to realize this. They made an overview of the issues at stake, of the actual situation (numbers of objects, their provenance), a legal study and propositions of how to restitute.

I happened to have my libraries’ copy in my bag when I met Felwine Sarr, so I asked him to sign it for all Brussels’ readers. He obliged – see picture. So I am happy to offer this upgraded copy to the library and the Brussels’ readers. It makes me really happy to do so: I am a big fan of the principle of a library. To have all the books you want because you share them (and the knowledge) with a large group of people… is it not a dream come true?

I will present the library with the return of the signed copy today. I am curious how they will react… I sure hope they do not fine me for making an author scribble in their book!

Vitrine#5 : Deconstructing by nature (entrance installation Köln)

In preparation of the work Vitrine#5 : Deconstructing by nature, Loes and I went out into the sun to get some Rhein wasser that will help us deconstruct some colonial images. The images I re-filmed and developed on 16mm film for this work are 19th Century photographs from the Rautenstrauch-Joest museum archive that illustrate the unequal power relations between colonizers and colonized.

The work itself is on display at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Köln, in Blickpunkt, until July 21st 2019.

photo Silviu Guiman
photo Silviu Guiman


NOISY IMAGES in Köln 5/5 – 16/6

The exhibition NOISY IMAGES investigates the mechanisms of colonial photography with four installations that result from Antje Van Wichelens research on colonial photo archives of institutions such as Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, Quai Branly, Africa Museum Tervuren, Wereldculturen.nl, Pitt Rivers Museum, etc. The works presented are realised in close collaboration with Rokia Bamba (sound installation for Noisy Images), Michael Murtaugh & Nicolas Maleve (co-created The Recognition Machine), Loes Jacobs (nadine – production), architect Jonathan Haehn, and curator Lucia Halder.

NOISY IMAGES opens on Sunday 5 May at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum, in the framework of the Photoszene Festival in Cologne and can be visited until 16 June.

more info: nadine.be, festival.photoszene.de
Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum – Cäcilienstr. 35,  50676 Cologne Germany
NOISY IMAGES is supported by Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Rautenstrauch Joest Museum, Photoszene Festival, Workspace Brussels, Gemeente Elsene, Constant vzw, LABO BXL, L’abominable, Moleskine, and nadine vzw,.

21C_19C_Procedures For Anthropometric Image Reversal_ debate 04

A video impression of the fourth and cosiest debate of the series.

read more…

21C/19C _ Procedures for Anthropometric Image Reversal _ Debate 03

21C/19C_Procedures for Anthropometric Image Reversal is a performative 16mm film work on the painful colonial archive, specifically the anthropometric photography of 1860-1900. read more…