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George Floyd in Papua: Demanding Images and the Art of Resonance

papuan lives
Wednesday, March 9, 2022, 5:40 pm – 7:20 pm

Abstract: This talk will offer an introduction to the “Image-Event” as both concept and method, as developed in my recent book Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation and the Image-Event in Indonesia (2020). The paper will focus on the circulation of images around the killing of George Floyd, looking particularly at how these images reverberated and resonated in West Papua, a restive region of Indonesia that has been the site of a longstanding separatist movement. I will critically examine a celebratory media discourse that sees the US-based Black Lives Matter movement as expanding outwards to spark similar movements elsewhere, a logic that reiterates longstanding colonialist narratives that figure places like Papua as backwaters belatedly receiving and imitatively taking up ideas that flow from the metropole outward. Questioning such assumptions, I will suggest that the unfolding of image-events can both challenge and reveal the ways that longstanding global asymmetries affect the flow of images and the course of political action. 

BioKaren Strassler is a Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of Refracted Visions: Popular Photography and National Modernity in Java and Demanding Images: Democracy, Mediation, and the Image-Event.

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Meeting ID: 958 9349 0863/Passcode: 685830

*Image by Toni Malakian