Talk ✨Michelle Dizon & Việt Lê: White Gaze at Rutgers

November 04, 2019

Resistance, Politics, Poetics: Michelle Dizon, Việt Lê & kate-hers RHEE in conversation

Thursday, November 21, 2019, 6-8pm
Paul Robeson Galleries: Main Gallery
Express Newark, Rutgers University
54 Halsey Street, 2nd floor, Newark, NJ

In three interrelated presentations, artist scholars kate-hers RHEE, Michelle Dizon and Việt Lê reconsider archives, neo-imperial intimacies, and resistance through cross-disciplinary practices which comprise visual art, theory, poetry and performance.

kate-hers RHEE will give Rutgers audiences a sneak peek of her upcoming 2020 project at the university and her current research into wunderkammers in Europe and Asia, as well as her conceptual work which interrogates the intersections of sexuality, language, gender and racialization.

Artist and filmmaker Michelle Dizon works with an archive of National Geographic magazines to explore the mechanics of the “white gaze.” Through a process of poetic subtraction, Dizon works with only the language on the original page to write a decolonial counterpoint to a way of imaging the world centered on the West. Her images lay the white gaze bare, unearth a genealogy of a racist visuality, and work in the gap between image and text to write against the grain of imperialist narratives.

Artist and writer Việt Lê uses Dizon’s images from White Gaze as a starting point for his poetic exploration of the legacies of war and imperialism. Lê’s text performs a dual work, both contextualizing Dizon’s images in the history of empire and unleashing a rhythmic play with language, both visually and aurally, to cut to the core of how meaning is produced. His text speaks to absence as much as a presence with a story of war and empire told in fragments, phrases, words hanging on the page—an index of both the trauma and resistance experienced by those subjected to the violence of empire.

RHEE and Lê remix the text from White Gaze as a performance, an audience call and response, tracing our collective desires and complicities.