<p><span>Ariel Efraim Ashbel, <em>All White People Look the Same to Me</em>, 2013/2016. Photo: Alona Rodeh</span></p>
<p><span>Ariel Efraim Ashbel, <em>All White People Look the Same to Me</em>, 2013/2016. Photo: Alona Rodeh</span></p>

No. 28: Images and Imageries of Race: Bodies

Managing editors: Katarzyna Bojarska, Dorota Sosnowska

Ariel Efraim Ashbel, All White People Look the Same to Me, 2013/2016. Photo: Alona Rodeh

This issue was supported by the Film School in Łódź, Polish Studies Department of the University of Warsaw, the Polish Minister of Science and Higher Education, from the funds of the program "Support of academic journals" in 2019-2020, and by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage, from the Fund for the Promotion of Culture.

Table of Contents


  1. To Imagine the Body

    ”To Imagine the Body”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2311

    Introductory comments to the issue devoted to images and imageries of race, racism and blackness.

    keywords: body; blackness; race; whiteness; performance; Steve McQueen; gaze; image


  1. The Passing of the Romani Body

    Monika Weychert , ”The Passing of the Romani Body”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2269

    Antiroma prejudice is among the most persistent and intense kinds of racial hatred in Europe. While criminal or demonic depictions of the Roma were created, their “blackness” was considered abhorrent, described as, for instance, yellowish and dirty, while their hair was always “shaggy” or curling “like vipers.” The “blackness” was believed to be an outcome of an uncivilized lifestyle, dirt, smoke from bonfires, or conscious creation – a picaresque camouflage. Romophobia or antiziganism have continude to rely on colour, visuality and visibility of the body to exclude people by reason of race. The article discusses the strategy of passing which enables the Roma to survive in a racist environment, or has been at times the only way to survive, as well as other subversive strategies of performing skin colour observed in the creative output of contemporary visual artists of Roma origin: Delaine Le Bas, Tamara Moyzes, Emilia Rigová and Kálmán Várady as well as creators and performers of Roma Armee and slammer Kristóf Horváth.

    keywords: Roma; stereotypes; blackness; racism; race; passing; skin; colour

  2. A Space of Negotiation: Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s Photographic Portraits as a Reflection on the Image of Blackness and Nudity

    Julia Stachura, ”A Space of Negotiations”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2281

    This article focuses on the self-portraits of contemporary African American artist Paul Mpaga Sepuya, who specializes in studio photography. In his self-portraits, Sepuya raises the issue of the contemporary representation of the black queer subject caught up in interracial relations. The author analyzes how the photographer blurs the boundary between the subjective "I" and "we," presenting a creative collective where the model-artist, artist-model relationship is defined on the basis of feelings of love and friendship. The author discusses issues of the homoerotic act and the hyper-visibility and invisibility of the racially determined subject.

    keywords: contemporary black artist; queerness; studio photography; the veil; nude; experience of blackness

  3. Race Re(con)figurations through Speculative & Environmental Futurity

    Katerina Genidogan, ”Race Re(con)figurations”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2292

    This article argues that climate change prediction and projection of dystopic futures have affected processes of race re(con)figuration through the logic of development and disaster risk management. It argues for an epistemological shift in our understanding of race that passes through space, and most importantly, time, and situates the analysis of race within chronobiopolitics that is used as a framework to explain the rationales and mechanisms of evolution, development and adaptation. In this context, the article attempts to delineate the shift from endless progress to sustainability, and eventually adaptation. By analysing the rhetoric and images in specific reports, videos, action plans and frameworks related to climate change predictions and weather-related disasters in Africa, it attempts to show how the fictioning and preemption of predatory futures creates a fertile ground for resilience building through the production of a racial(ising) affect that favours the proliferation of market dystopias.

    keywords: climate change prediction; chronobiopolitics; race; environmental futurity; disaster; market dystopias; blackness

  4. Blackness and Governance

    Fred Moten, Stefano Harney, ”Blackness and Governance”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2315

    Polish translation of a chapter from Moten's and Harney's The Undercommons. Fugitive Planning & Black Study (2013).

    keywords: black studies; race; clack body; blackness; governance; self-management; governmentality


  1. The Inclusion Solution? The Use of Blackface in Jordan Peele’s "Get Out"

    Karolina Toka, ”The Inclusion Solution? ”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2276

    Jordan Peele’s 2017 social thriller Get Out depicts a peculiar form of body swap resulting from the uncanny desires of the Armitage family to seize captured black bodies and use them as carriers of their white minds. This paper offers reading of the movie’s disturbing plot through the lens of the origins and cultural significance of blackface. For the sake of  argument, in this article blackface is to be understood as a cultural phenomenon encompassing the symbolic role of black people basic to the US society, which articulates the ambiguity of celebration and exploitation of blackness in American popular culture. This article draws on the theoretical framework of blackface developed by Lott, Rogin, Ellison and Gubar, in order to explore the Get Out’s complex commentary on the twenty-first century race relations in the United States. In result, this paper turns the spotlight on the mechanisms of racist thinking in the United States, by showing the movie’s use of the apparatus underpinning blackface.

    keywords: blackface; Jordan Peele; Get Out; film studies; race in American film; race relations in the United States

  2. The Birth of a Black Female Superhero in "Watchmen" (2019)

    Anna Maria Grzybowska, ”The Birth of a Black Female Superhero”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2282

    The article analyzes development of a Black female superhero character in HBO’s Watchmen (2019) series. Inspired by Adilifu Nama’s “critically celebratory perspective” used to discuss Black superheroes, it focuses on how the show bridges the gender gap in representation of Black superheroes by introducing a strong female character in her thirties, how it deals with themes of racial discrimination, and how it offers a portent of racial utopia within the context of US history, culture, and politics. Furthermore, the analysis includes a reference to Alan Moore’s original comic of the same title and argues that through the Afrofuturistic aesthetic, the show transforms the disappointing white male superhero narrative into a potential story of success of the Black female superhero, making Angela a rightful heir to Doctor Manhattan’s superpower and perhaps someone who will be capable of making a change both in terms of a cultural and political change.

    keywords: Watchmen; science fiction; HBO series; race; female superhero; Afrofuturism


  1. All White People Still Look The Same To Me

    Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Romm Lewkowicz, ”All White People Still Look The Same To Me”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2319

    The project is an experiment in fictional anthropology studying the scopic regime of whiteness. Exploiting a range of historical, textual and visual materials, the show dissected the performative evolution of alterity in the West, from the imperial human zoos to contemporary trends in documentary theater. It deconstructs and indulges in the image-making process of authentic otherness, with its intoxicating power of making Whiteness disappear. The project weaves the video fragments into a tapestry of textual and visual images from Ariel Ashbel’s collaborative work with anthropologist Romm Lewkowicz, an inventory of performative opacities interrupting whitness’s regimes of representation.

    keywords: supremacy; whiteness; anthropology; Hegel; slave; master; race


  1. Questionnaire

    Gabriel Mestre Arrioja, Eugenia Siapera et al., ”Questionnaire”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2314

    We asked several curators, critics, theorists, artists and activists to share their thoughts on the intricate relationship between "race," images and imageries. Below are their responses. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you who accepted our invitation. This is a timely and an important conversation.

    keywords: race; images; imageries; racism; body; racialized; performance


  1. Frantz Fanon's Psychoanalytic Diagnoses. "Black Skin,White masks" Read Again

    Agnieszka Więckiewicz, ”Frantz Fanon's Psychoanalytic Diagnoses”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2271

    The critical review of Frantz Fanon’s essay Black skin, white masks published recently in Karakter Edition House.

    keywords: Frantz Fanon; psychoanalysis; blackness; racism; colonialism

  2. Blackness in Theatre. Body and Representation

    Piotr Morawski, ”Blackness in Theatre. Body and Representation”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2305

    The starting point of the article is Wiktor Bagiński’s performance Black Skin, White Masks (2019) and the way the performance establishes blackness in Polish culture. Bagiński’s strategy, which treats the black body as an archive of Polish culture, by reconstructing the history of Polish blackness, allows us to look at other representations of blackness in Polish theatre - Radosław Rychcik’s Forefather’s eve (2014), Wiktor Rubin’s Dead Girls Wanted (2019) or Kuba Kowalski’s Devil and a Bar of Chocolate (2017). And finally, the history of Polish blackness, which Bagiński creates in his performance allows questioning the coherent narrative about Polish culture, also in the historical dimension, dating back to the prepartition times.

    keywords: blackness; Polish history; contemporary theater; racism

  3. Between the Decline of the Polish People's Republic and the Shock Therapy of the Transition. A Social History of Polish Art in the "Long 80's"

    Jakub Majmurek, ”Between the Decline of the PPR and the Shock Therapy”, View. Theories and Practices of Visual Culture 28 (2020), https://doi.org/10.36854/widok/2020.28.2303

    A review of Jakub Banasiak's book Proteuszowe czasy. Rozpad państwowego systemu sztuki 1982–1993 [Protean Times. The Decline of the State-Funded Art System 1982-1993] (Warsaw: Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej – Akademia Sztuk Pięknych 2020).

    keywords: social art history; long 1980s; New Expression; Church art; transition; state funding of art; art institutions