Interactive display, photographic prints.
In collaboration with Ben Krewinkel's 'Africa in The Photobook'
“Opacity” (2023) is a counter-study on confrontational practices of visibility in colonial photobooks. Using 48 replicated plates in their original sequence from a portfolio book on people of the Malange and Lunda region of Angola, this work illustrates common elements of compelled photography and propaganda of the time. The author ironically presents his ‘photo study’ as fact, with “no pretension of an ethnographic study”, which this work refutes and redacts. The exposed plates with turned-backs are read as unintended signals of refusal and misidentification.
Guests are invited to have a haptic encounter, interact and touch (lift the transparent sheets), to reveal the images beneath, but only after posing the new pertinent questions they are now masked with.
Footnote: “Etnografia Angolana” (1933) portfolio book by Portuguese engineer and amateur anthropologist Fernando Mouta.