After Indenture: Three Photo Stories Roshini Kempadoo; Sharlene Khan; Wendy Nanan

Kempadoo, R. 2017. After Indenture: Three Photo Stories Roshini Kempadoo; Sharlene Khan; Wendy Nanan. Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4156846

TitleAfter Indenture: Three Photo Stories Roshini Kempadoo; Sharlene Khan; Wendy Nanan
AuthorsKempadoo, R.
Description

A photographic portfolio published as a special section “Art After Indenture,” in which five scholars characterize and respond to eight contemporary visual artists who are descendants of indentured workers. The author Andil Gosine as guest editor also raises questions about the commemoration of indentureship and calls for greater contention with its traumatic legacy.

Abstract and introduction to photo stories:

Face Up: Life and transgressive acts on screen
Roshini Kempadoo
A screen-based video installation as character ‘idents'1 that combine photographs and short stories about living in London.

As the inevitable eavesdropper, listener, earwigger, I can’t help but overhear partial conversations and oversee occurrences on screen – at the bus stop, in the supermarket queue, walking along the street.

These are starting points for imagining what happens next.

Bus 321 northbound, November 24 2015, Lewisham, London. I witness a young black man being refused entry onto the bus. In protest, he stood in front of the vehicle, challenging the driver. The bus driver revved the engine and inched forward, escalating the state of play. The man and the driver were at an impasse. I and others look on and use phones to document and screen share what happens next.

It soon went viral.

Deirdre takes a look at the state of her hair on the laptop whilst waiting to speak to her cousin. Her connections are international and ubiquitous; she knows her Skype conversation gives news about family in Guyana and the place she remembers. She feels it is right to offer what she can, which may mean money, arranging documents, or accommodating an unknown relative who is passing through. As a Londoner – of colour and diasporic, who knows about at least two places called ‘home,’ she keeps track of and maintains her tenuous and multiple ‘identities.’

Her screen use is dynamic and multiple. It is the hyperspace for intimate correspondence that closes distance, a transparent mediated tool for gathering evidence or self-affirmation. It is a semi-autonomous sensing instrument for sharing encounters and experiences. As a popular cultural space of performance the screen becomes ‘profoundly mythic… a theatre of popular desires, a theatre of popular fantasies.‘ 2 As it feeds our senses as eye and ear candy, her screen facilitates performance and acts of transgression.

It is where she and I ‘do’ and perform life on the screen.

1 ‘idents’ is derived from the promotional video sequences associated with television identification/promotional videos.
2 Kuan-Hsing Chen and David Morley, eds. Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. 477.

Year2017
Output mediaSmall Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, Small Axe (2017) 21 (2 (53)): 135-150.
Keywordsselfies
migration
indentureship
Indo-Guyanese
PublisherDuke University Press
Publication dates
Published01 Jul 2017
ISSN0799-0537
1534-6714
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4156846
FunderSmall Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-4156846

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