Accepted Paper:

Analytical montage and the 'absent presence' of race  


Ildikó Plájás (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

In my research I use analytical montage to evoke the (in)visibility of race in a European context. Evocative montage is used not only as a scholarly-artistic intervention but also as ‘haptic creativity’ to bring about the ‘absent presence’ of race.

Paper long abstract:

The term montage, initially borrowed from film theory, has become a trope in STS and material semiotics to talk about the relationality of objects, bodies, entities, etc. (e.g. M'charek 2014). In my research focusing on the production of 'phenotypic Other' in Europe by different technologies of seeing, I suggest that montage can be used not only as a trope but as an artistic-scholarly intervention to bring about the 'absent presence' of race. Evocative film-montage thus becomes a method of 'haptic creativity' (Myers-Dumit 2011) challenging classical ways of doing ethnographic research. My research deals with the surveillance and monitoring of Roma people and the technologies of vision these practices entail. Sensory cinema as a method attends to the creation of knowledge of security intelligence and police, as well as the anthropologist/filmmaker. Collaboration is not envisioned between scientist and artist but rather between multiple methods which try to do and undo race according to different - and perhaps contradictory - normativities. The sensory-film project aimed at focusing on technologies of seeing thus adds an extra technology of vision (Haraway 1991) which paradoxically attends to the 'absent presence' of race.

Panel T019
Science and Technology through Critical Art Practice