We explore representations and performances against racism as 'catalytic signifiers' that contribute to empowering narratives and uprisings, whilst investigating the ripple effects that re-thinking and reclaiming icons - films, statues, monuments, sounds etc. - have for social change and equality. Session 2: (C)reactions
Viral videos, murals, graffiti, performance activism, tumbling statues, and Black Atlantic film screenings are all part of empowering audio-visual-digital narratives that contribute to the rising momentum against ongoing institutional racism on the backs of the legacies of colonialism, slavery and exploitation across the world. Our panel sets out to explore such representations and performances as 'catalytic signifiers' in moments of rupture that have contributed to explosive uprisings, whilst also investigating the ripple effects that re-thinking and reclaiming icons such as films, statues, museums, monuments, streets, sites names and sounds are having for social change and equality in contemporary and historical eras.
By denouncing police brutality, capturing and sharing films of racist violent attacks, and/or digitally amplifying anti-racism protests across the world, audio-visual-digital conduits have connected local and global struggles for rights and recognition - from the Rhodes Must Fall movement that started in South Africa, Black Lives Matter in US and UK to migrants 'braccianti' rights in Italy, indigenous communities, Palestinians in Israeli occupied territories among other ethno-racial minorities. Meanwhile catalytic imagery such as victims of state-corporate brutality from the townships of Johannesburg to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and the plains of South Dakota have ignited such protests. This is amid growing awareness of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, migrant, minority, and indigenous communities - further linking social exclusion and health inequalities to ethnic/racial discrimination. We welcome contributions on any of these and related themes that examine the catalytic use of audio-visual-digital imagery in historical and contemporary movements for ethnic/racial equality.