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Imagining Somewheres: Obstruction as a Productive Force in Decolonial Visuality, Solidarities, and Asian American Futures

Chang, Clarissa Grace LU (2018) KOVM12 20181
Division of Art History and Visual Studies
Abstract
Through a decolonial lens, visual culture can offer a variety of methods for solidarity-, community-, and future-building among people of color and other marginalized identities through applied imagination. However, a common impulse in these community-building endeavors is to explain as much as possible or to direct the image to the white gaze––a colonial ideology––which can further marginalize and unintentionally other the depicted subjects. My empirical materials span fine art, social media, e-zines, and historical images depicting people of color in the U.S. and Canada, with a particular focus on Asian (North) American embodiment in visual culture. I chose to concentrate on the simultaneous visibility (raced) and invisibility... (More)
Through a decolonial lens, visual culture can offer a variety of methods for solidarity-, community-, and future-building among people of color and other marginalized identities through applied imagination. However, a common impulse in these community-building endeavors is to explain as much as possible or to direct the image to the white gaze––a colonial ideology––which can further marginalize and unintentionally other the depicted subjects. My empirical materials span fine art, social media, e-zines, and historical images depicting people of color in the U.S. and Canada, with a particular focus on Asian (North) American embodiment in visual culture. I chose to concentrate on the simultaneous visibility (raced) and invisibility (under-/misrepresentation) of Asian (North) Americans, as this area remains under-researched.

In this thesis, I explore whether and how obstruction of the gaze (visual refusal) functions as a possible intervention for this problem. As interpretations of obstruction, I have analyzed codification, physical obstructions, and visual disruptions (e.g. pixelation, text) as protective visual aspects. Drawing from decoloniality (Walter Mignolo, Aníbal Quijano), intersectional feminism (Audre Lorde), literary criticism (Monica Chiu, Eleanor Ty), and critical race studies (George Yancy), I apply an interdisciplinary perspective to a late Foucauldian discourse analysis. In addition, I have created a visual chapter––a Virtual Reality 360 piece––exploring the materiality of the theories, my own analyses of the empirical materials, and obstruction as applied to an immersive virtual space. As an applied practice, obstruction offers protective functions, as well as creative and future-building ones (through support). Although obstruction is technically one intervention, its iterations are many and should continue to be explored. (Less)
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author
Chang, Clarissa Grace LU
supervisor
organization
course
KOVM12 20181
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
decoloniality, obstruction, radical hope, Asian American embodiment, virtual reality
language
English
additional info
The VR piece is available upon request (to the author/creator).
id
8945780
date added to LUP
2018-06-11 15:55:07
date last changed
2018-06-11 15:55:07
@misc{8945780,
  abstract     = {Through a decolonial lens, visual culture can offer a variety of methods for solidarity-, community-, and future-building among people of color and other marginalized identities through applied imagination. However, a common impulse in these community-building endeavors is to explain as much as possible or to direct the image to the white gaze––a colonial ideology––which can further marginalize and unintentionally other the depicted subjects. My empirical materials span fine art, social media, e-zines, and historical images depicting people of color in the U.S. and Canada, with a particular focus on Asian (North) American embodiment in visual culture. I chose to concentrate on the simultaneous visibility (raced) and invisibility (under-/misrepresentation) of Asian (North) Americans, as this area remains under-researched. 

In this thesis, I explore whether and how obstruction of the gaze (visual refusal) functions as a possible intervention for this problem. As interpretations of obstruction, I have analyzed codification, physical obstructions, and visual disruptions (e.g. pixelation, text) as protective visual aspects. Drawing from decoloniality (Walter Mignolo, Aníbal Quijano), intersectional feminism (Audre Lorde), literary criticism (Monica Chiu, Eleanor Ty), and critical race studies (George Yancy), I apply an interdisciplinary perspective to a late Foucauldian discourse analysis. In addition, I have created a visual chapter––a Virtual Reality 360 piece––exploring the materiality of the theories, my own analyses of the empirical materials, and obstruction as applied to an immersive virtual space. As an applied practice, obstruction offers protective functions, as well as creative and future-building ones (through support). Although obstruction is technically one intervention, its iterations are many and should continue to be explored.},
  author       = {Chang, Clarissa Grace},
  keyword      = {decoloniality,obstruction,radical hope,Asian American embodiment,virtual reality},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Imagining Somewheres: Obstruction as a Productive Force in Decolonial Visuality, Solidarities, and Asian American Futures},
  year         = {2018},
}