Out of Focus

Dr. Dora Imhof, U5

The project Out of Focus. The artistic-ethnographic practice of Maya Deren and Leonore Mau investigates two historical positions of artistic engagement with Vodou in Haiti. In a collaboration between an art historian and artists we reexamine their work and ask how it can be productive for contemporary discourses on artistic research, questions of representation, the uses of archives, and (photography) ethics.

Voduns Visuals (working title)

Niklas Wolf

Vodun are part of complex spiritual world-views, connecting and balancing the sacred with the secular, the ancestral worlds with the ones of the living, humans with nature. Such local and global supra temporal connections manifest in specific ways of displaying and performing Vodun.

Material Expressions of West African Spirituality in the Americas: Transatlantic Continuities in Haiti

Zainabu Jallo

Within the various modes of West African Vodun, spiritual faith is expressed through a wide range of material forms. Its doctrinal system and spirituality are founded upon the belief that the immanent characters of divinities are accommodated within natural elements and the material world.

Chieftaincy, Spirituality and Heritage Preservation: Visual Evidence of Vodu in Photographic Archives

In collaboration with Rita Mawuena Benissan / SiHene Archive

In most indigenous societies in the southern part of Ghana, Vodu has mainly served as the political power base of jurisprudence, power succession, symbolic display of power and political authority. In this discussion, we will investigate how Chieftaincy has been photographed from 1800 to the present day using the SiHene archive (curated by Rita Mawuena Benissan). Through a careful reexamination of these photographs, we will try to identify the visual references and symbolic evidence of how Vodu is captured and manifested in traditional politics in Ghana.

Ethnographic Access and the Reckoning

Ethnographic Access and the Reckoning

Gina Athena Ulysse

Revisiting parts of Mau’s Haiti archives during this moment of reckoning, this project will explore questions of access and circuits of violence, epistemic and otherwise in the ethnographic encounter.