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On the Museum Approach to Colonial History


On the Museum Approach to Colonial History

On the Museum Approach to Colonial History

Under the guise of a supposedly mechanical-technical recording of reality, the photographs also contain numerous examples of racist depictions of the "Other". But how to deal with these photographs today? In the discussion about the "stolen shadows" or a "photography-against-will", some representatives of postcolonial studies today demand that these photographs, which were taken under questionable and coercive power relations, should no longer be shown publicly at all, as the consent of those depicted cannot be assumed. The unlawful act of taking the image is reproduced through the public display of the stolen image. In recent years, other postcolonial image scholars have diversified this fundamental attribution of a lack of autonomy of the subjects of the image and opened our eyes to the complex orientations and contradictions of the colonial gaze. They point to examples in which non-European cultures have appropriated and specifically adapted Western Image conventions.
In this exhibition, too, it becomes clear that the pictorial assignment of victim and perpetrator is sometimes difficult to make. To which group, for example, do the numerous indigenous collaborators of the German colonial regime belong? Here you can see, with a few pictorial examples, how individual representatives of the oppressed cultures quite deliberately began to use Western pictorial traditions for their private and political intentions.
A profoundly Eurocentric perspective is undoubtedly inscribed in the photographs of mariners. Ideological errors of an era cannot be corrected in retrospect: it would be a mistake to try to erase them from historiography. However, the Eurocentric view can be deconstructed by integrating the images and making them accessible in dialogue with people from former colonial areas. We therefore see this exhibition as an opportunity to talk to people from former colonial areas about their impressions. [In addition, visitors can leave their commentsand remarkson the photographs on the pages of the online Exhibition (].


PD Dr. Gisela Parak

+49 (0) 471 482 07 834

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Impuls Bildethik

Name of the speaker: Neele Bahr

zur Audiodatei

Impuls Arbeiten mit der Sammlung - Das Fotobuch als materielles Objekt

Name of the speaker: Judith Beneker

zur Audiodatei

Opening hours

Cog hall: daily from 10 am to 6 pm

Ships: daily 10 am to 5:45 pm

how to reach us

Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum
Hans-Scharoun-Platz 1
D-27568 Bremerhaven


T. +49 471 482 07 0

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