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Aesthetic Seminar. Who Carries the Weight of History? Artistic Responses to Colonial Ruin(action)s in the former Danish West Indies

Mathias Danbolt is an art historian with a special focus on queer, antiracist, and decolonial perspectives on contemporary art and performance.

08.02.2017 | Betina Ramm

Dato tor 30 mar
Tid 14:15 17:00
Sted at Kasernen, Langelandsgade 139, Building 1584, Room 124

In his 2017 New Year’s Address, the Danish Prime Minister devoted a section of his speech to the centennial of the Danish divestment of its colonies in the Caribbean. “This is not a proud part of the history of Denmark,” he explained. “It is shameful. And it is fortunately in the past.” In this lecture Danbolt questions the temporal and historical logics behind the idea of Danish colonialism as something existing “fortunately in the past,” through an analysis of recent artworks by two Virgin Island artists: Janet Cook-Rutnik’s performative intervention ROCK/TRANSFER (2009) and La Vaughn Belle’s sculpture Trading Post (2016). He argues that Cook-Rutnik and Vaughn Belle’s material engagement with the ruins of Danish colonial architecture call for understandings of colonialism as an unfinished process of ruination – not only of goods and wealth, but of embodied knowledge and cultural memory. Working with rocks and corals drawn from the pillars of colonial support structures, Danbolt suggests that these projects speak to the unequal distribution of labor in carrying the weight of history.


The lecture is open to the public.

Speaker: Mathias Danbolt



Seminar, Kunsthistorie, Æstetik & Kultur og Museologi