The Promise of Mutability
ABSTRACT / For several months, I have posted short excerpts from an essay-in-progress on Instagram (@emmaiduma), paired with colonial-era photographs from the National Archives of the United Kingdom, taken in Nigeria. The underlying basis for my work with the archive is a question, drawn from a line in an Eduoard Glissant poem: How am I in history until my barest marrows? But it is equally an impulse to question the nature of the interaction, particularly on digital platforms, between text and image. The genealogy of such work arguably reaches back to Ekphrastic writing, is beholden to the evolution of Western and non-Western literacy, collaborations between visual artists and writers, fiction written in response to images or film, and, as in this case, the idiosyncratic ways writers use Instagram. If the use of social media in general is constrained by the need for “shameless self-promotion,” how might criticism work within those parameters? What is the distinction, perhaps in a phenomenological sense, between “posting” and “publishing?” How is engagement sustained, carried-over, or retooled for ongoing or future work? At the Symposium, I hope to present an essay on art criticism as presented on Instagram – the promise of a mutable, fluid, and interlocutory social media platform.
BIOGRAPHY / Emmanuel Iduma is a Nigerian writer and art critic based in New York. He holds an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he is also a faculty member. He has contributed essays on art and photography to a number of journals, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. He is the editor of Saraba magazine, which he co-founded. Until 2016, he was Director of Publications of Invisible Borders, a trans-African organization based in Nigeria, and participated in four editions of its acclaimed road-trip project. He played a curatorial role in the group’s installation “A Trans-African Worldspace” at the 2015 Venice Biennale. He co-curated the Nigerian Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. He is the author of the novel The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing. His latest book A Stranger’s Pose will be published in 2018.
New Modes of Publishing and Distribution
Sky Goodden, Walter Scott, Emmanuel Iduma, David Garneau, Kristy Trinier
September 17, 2:00 – 3:50 PM
Engineered Air Theatre, 234 9 Avenue SW