A lecture by Mark Sealy at The Fabrica Gallery in 2012 discussing the photographs and project by artists Julian Germain, Patricia Azevedo and Murilo Godoy, The Beautiful Horizon (2012) which was an acclaimed project, documenting a long-term collaboration between young people living on the streets of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Referring to this project he discusses the history and implications of using photography to represent unheard voices and as a tool for advocating social change.
Mark Sealy at the time of this lecture (2012) was Director of Autograph.
Notes ana quotes.
- Sealy expressed concerns that he had about what he thought was over excessive corporation of the art industry and the growing growth in the visual arts of the celebrity.
- Sealy criticised what he called pseudo policies in place that talk about engagement, reaching out to disenfranchised people and communities and how identity politics, gender, race,class and difference play into this field.
- Sealy suggests that these subjects go in and out of vogue just as a popular trend.
- Sealy suggests that how we see other people and social politics is wrapped up in the history of photography.
- Sealy – Photography has helped construct how we see difference of the other in race, etc.
- Sealy – History of photography and history of slavery and colonialism is very closely aligned in relation to its invention and the abolition of slavery.
- Sealy – The 19th century application of photography mirrored the ideologies at play and the theoretical understanding of positioning people.
- Sealy – A painting of Queen Victoria in the National Gallery of a fictional moment in which the Queen gives a Bible to a noble looking ‘savage’ implies the gift of civilisation on the ‘ignorant savage’.
- Sealy – Does editing of a photographic project such as The Beautiful Horizon change the positioning of the artist/s for inside to outside and objectify the subject just as 19th century photographers did?
- Sealy – In addressing ideas of the early 2000s the eradication of the idea of race in art cannot simply be achieved simply by process.
- Sealy – Objectification of a subject can be problematic when trying to fairly represent the other.
- Early photography tended to include a black person as a visual code to point to a greater authority.
- Sealy agues that photography has played a particularly violent role as an act when otherness is put in the frame.
- Sealy – It has contributed to a cultural violence to the other.
- Sealy suggests that photography still is about power and access.
- Sealy believes that Africa been stereotyped and its mass of different cultures ironed down to one and that it has become a verb for “doing”.
- Sealy believes that the eradication of a certain African culture by German soldiers in the early 20th century was like a dress rehearsal for the Holocaust in Europe less than 40 years later.
- Sealy – That there appears to be a “Theatre of enjoyment with violence.”
- Sealy – That there is an idea of no value of life of the other.
- Sealy – There is a racial hierarchy.
- Sealy – That ideas and agendas are played out differently for each ex-imperial country such as The UK, France, Brazil, Belgium, etc.