The contributors to this issue of Afterimage (Volume 47, no. 3) explore boundaries and breath, masks and movement, ecologies and economies, ruin and replenishment. To begin, Hannah Allen's photo project navigates the uses and limits of accessing images of the United States-Mexico border through digital vs. physical means. James Fleming's essay looks at the entwinement of photography and language in the twentieth century, offering the contention that text entering the picture's frame was an early move toward modernity.
In our reviews sections, Joshua Glick explores the landmark exhibition At First Light: The Dawning of Asian Pacific America at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, which commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the LA-based Asian Pacific American media arts organization Visual Communications. Ger Zielinski reviews 24/7: A Wake-Up Call for Our Non-Stop World, recently on view at the Somerset House in London. As Zielinski demonstrates, curator Sarah Cook was inspired by Jonathan Crary's book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (2013) but presented “a more optimistic consciousness-raising approach” in the display of work by more than fifty artists organized under five binary themes including activity and rest, the human and the machine, and the individual and the collective. Francesca Ferrari takes readers through the “masterful visual analyses” found in art historian Elizabeth Otto's new book, Haunted Bauhaus: Occult Spirituality, Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics.
In this issue we also debut two new regular features, including one new genre of reviews. In this era of closed galleries and “social” distancing, artists are finding alternative ways to share their work, often online via social media. In response to this shift in exhibition modalities and platforms we offer a new section, “Project Reviews.” This will give reviewers and critics a forum for discussing work presented exclusively online (or through other non-traditional means) not only during the current (and presumably temporary) closure of so many gallery and museum spaces, but into the future. For our first iteration, Nathaniel Stern takes a recent GPS-based letter-writing project by Kelly Kirshtner, In the Shoulder Season (Love Letter #2) as a starting point for a rumination on mapping and embodiment, familial connections and distance during quarantine.
Finally, the most significant change to Afterimage in some time also debuts within: our section of peer-reviewed articles that will be a regular feature in every quarterly issue. In this inaugural collection, we feature three articles investigating an array of contemporary video works across concerns and continents. Bridging media theory and art history, Annie Dell'Aria charts changes in our haptic relationship to screen media, focusing on the themes of gesture and touch in several video installations. Rodrigo Lopes de Barros links the elements and resultant video productions of Antje Ehmann and Harun Farocki's workshop-based project Labour in a Single Shot with Bustox, a performance by ERRO Grupo, tracking the long-term implications of fetishization, demolition, and ruins as they relate to labor and capitalism in Brazil. Brianne Cohen situates two moving-image artworks, UuDam Tran Nguyen's Serpents' Tails (2015) and Tuấn Mami's In One's Breath—Nothing Stands Still (2018), in the intersections of art, ecology, and the public sphere in Vietnam, adeptly arguing such claims as “the [pre-COVID] mask connects matters of ecology to restricted public discourse in Vietnam.” We hope you enjoy this new, peer-reviewed content.
As a reminder, our editorial board is reviewing scholarly submissions on an ongoing basis, and we continue to welcome essays; photo essays; interviews; exhibition, book, and project reviews; and reports on events and happenings.
Take good care,