Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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Belinda Kazeem-Kaminski, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies


Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, Voids. The Letter, still image from the film of the same name, 2018 © Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński


Located at the intersection of theory and art practice, this research project aims to take the effects of enslavement and colonialism in Austria, the general invisibility of Blackness, and the acting out of white innocence as starting points in order to address and pursue the following questions: How does one think about Blackness in a country where colonialism is rarely discussed, kept out of schoolbooks, and out of what Gloria Wekker calls the cultural archive (Wekker 2016, 19)? How should we deal with a culture of ghosts and flashbacks, which seem to continuously escape the politics of representation?

Since for some people it is impossible to flee the force of ghosts and flashbacks as they haunt the everyday, what would it mean to proactively conjure up the ghosts of colonialism in order to confront the history of Blackness in a country where Black people are caught up in a state of “extreme visibility and extreme invisibility” (see Johnston-Arthur in Gürses 2001), where the Black subject seems to be a ghost, socially dead? How can we interrogate the making and unmaking of Blackness in Austria and start to understand these dynamics as the effects of the suppression of violent histories? And which forms of expression are able to grasp the grammar of suffering and violence against Black people without reproducing it?