Panel information by Ana Carvalho and Cornelia Lund:
Textual and other works dealing with issues concerning caring often address a group of parameters that are, among many others, fundamental to the topic, such as gender and related socioeconomic inequalities, unequal access to care (the right to live, isolation, abandonment), institutionalization (hospitals, schools, NGOs, governments), and the commodification of care (pharmaceutical industries, home services). This perspective tends to lead to a constrained definition of care, sustained on a dichotomy of the giver (formal and informal) and the receiver (children, elderly people, disabled, sick) – and who is involved to leave outside the non-formal, non-hierarchical, non-white, and non-westernized modes of looking after.
Outside politics, the rights and the social impact of care remain the invisible forces that bind people together as kin and as communities.
This panel thus seeks to explore these often-neglected forms of caring as reciprocity, construction of intimacy, as well as a means of protection and empowerment in the sense of Audre Lorde. To do so, it will focus on the analysis of videos, music videos and performances from queer and BiPOC contexts, by Tabita Rezaire, Linn da Quebrada, Tamar Clarke-Brown/Issac Kariuki and others. Intertwining the role of the caregiver(s) with the one of the care receiver(s), including non-centralised western means of living, these approaches repose on informal gestures of care and looking after, on gestures of caring and careful daily routine. In these quiet gestures resides an enormous power of resistance when performed by fragile communities in their struggle for mental and physical wellbeing in otherwise indifferent or openly hostile contexts. By showing, how these gestures can become powerful critical political strategies in decolonial or queer struggles, this panel seeks to trace another perspective on the notion of care put forward by “The Care Manifesto.”
(Sponsored by the CCVA)
Cornelia Lund: "Care as Quiet Revolution: The Resistive Power of Black Hair Care"
Abstract: Submitted to the (neo)-colonial rule of white western cultural and beauty standards ever since western colonial powers extended their grip to the African continent, Black hair has become a site for the negotiation of much more than just hair styles. The best-known example for its political implications in the western world is probably the proudly worn Afro of the Black Power Movement. In the African and afro-diasporic antiracist and decolonial movements of the last 10 to 15 years, Black hair and hair care have again become a central topic. This paper proposes to investigate in a decolonial perspective how music videos, films and art projects explore the very specific character of Black hair care between the intimate situations created by the time consuming ritual of braiding and the “salon” as safe space. While these situations already contain a certain activist power of resistance as acts of selfcare (hooks 2015; Lorde, 2017), short, intimate moments representing “braiding’s quiet sense of routine” as “everyday vernacular practice” (Clarke-Brown, Kariuki 2019), for example, appear as embedded in a wider discourse of decolonial cultural self-assertion in music videos of Seinabo Sey or Sudan archives. In Akosua Adoma Owusu’s Hair Trilogy (2009–2019), these quiet moments of everyday care serve as starting point for reflections on the effects of colonialism. Kariuki’s and Clarke-Brown’s performance CBT (Coding: Braiding: Transmission; 2017) uses GoPro cameras in combination with the idea of the salon and braiding as technology for a sharp reflection about surveillance politics. In all these instances, care as mutual exchange and form of communication becomes a means of questioning of and thus resisting not only cultural norms, but also hegemonic structures represented by white western cultures that oftentimes manifest themselves through a hierarchical model of care and the economy of its commodification (Ndikung 2021).
Ana Carvalho: "Looking after and the visibility of queer communities"
Sophie McCuen-Koytek: "Unsettling Cyberspace – Decolonial Healing in Tabita Rezaire’s Deep Down Tidal (2017)"