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Katie Knox '22

Reimagining Movement in Postcolonial Art

Movement has become the target of securitization as it is that which produces the migrant. This logic has supported the continued externalization of the European border through policies aimed at preventing movement from the South to the North across the Mediterranean. Through the lenses of Butler’s notion of ‘ungrievable life’ and the concepts of bio/necropolitics as developed by Foucault and Mbembe, I analyze artistic expressions that reconceptualize movement in the postcolonial space, focusing in particular on Algerian-born artists Zineddine Bessaï and Kader Attia. In his piece H-OUT, Bessaï decolonizes eurocentric cartography through his artistic rendering of a map that privileges clandestine movement across the Mediterranean; Attia’s experimentation with the exhibit space, meanwhile, directly incorporates and interrogates the movement of the spectator. By comparing these artists’ explorations of movement (and the problematization of certain bodies accompanying certain forms of movement), we better understand movement itself as a form of resistance.