You Are Awaited, but Never as Equals
Diashow, 26 black-and-white slides
Taking up a medium evocative of academic settings—the slide show— You Are Awaited, but Never as Equals zooms in on five iterations of a photograph which was later turned into a postcard, by decomposing them, and laying bare their underlying violence. The postcard depicts the arrival of a group of West African performers to Vienna in 1896. Arriving by ship after performing in Budapest, the group was “welcomed” by a crowd of hundreds of (white) people staring at them, pointing at them, and dissecting them with their gazes and gestures.
The composition of the photographs —and their production as a postcard—emphasize the opposition between “the norm” and “the other”, the objectification of Blackness, and the spectacularisation of “otherness”. By showing only enlarged and dematerialised details of the looks and gestures of the audience, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński prevents the reproduction of the original visual experience, thus defusing the panoptic, objectifying, and violent white gaze on Black bodies and underlining the extent to which racist ideology is connected with the establishment of scopic regimes.