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swedish culture minister takes part in really weird ractist fgm performance cake art. watch the video.
Swasticky Toffee Pudding
Can't take credit for either of those.
I think this video should be watched.
Less so the second paragraph obviously.
This is utterly bizarre though. It's a really important issue and I actually even think the cake idea borders on clever but it's such a horrific racial caricature that it completely undermines everything else. What the fuck were they thinking?
apparently the artist (screaming head guy) uses blackface quite a lot in his other work, like, for contrast yeah?
I'm guessing (might be wrong) it's not so much intended as racist as intended to satirise and caricature conventional white perceptions of black people but, if that's the case, it has left this quite badly open to misinterpretation and distracted from the main issue at hand here.
then there's the issue of usin it for this particular work and the point he's tryin to make about fgm. then there's the issue of the swedish culture minister. like, it's obviously a really serious issue but this video just makes me laugh. a lot. and that's really bad.
I have now.
less 'shocking use of performance art to force us to think seriously about this important issue and question our perceptions' than 'white people standing around in a cool gallery laughing and eating cake and taking photos on their phones of the weird spectacle'
i.e that your audience is going to be predominantly white, predominantly there for the freebies and mostly likely to completely miss the point of the work? I can't really see how he'd fix that except by either not being an artist or not displaying his work.
not saying it *actually* necessarily makes it 'worse', just that it makes it feel even more... idk, badly thought out or insensitive or whatever. then again, a bunch of white people standing about going 'that fgm thing in africa is terrible huh' while munching on a minstrelised black body is actually probably quite a good metaphor for something or other
is preferable to a bunch of white people being entirely oblivious to the fact fgm is actually happening or the effects it has.
And if the widespread media attention that this gets does at some point get round to discussing that issue (which it obviously won't) it might even do some small bit of good.
idk about in sweden, but it doesn't feel like something that's particularly under-reported or discussed to me. maybe i'm wrong though. but in either case, 'raising awareness' in this sort of context often means little more than making some people nod and go 'that's terrible, good thing we're not like that' and feel good about how AWARE they are, and yeah in general i think it's very debatable how useful or good 'controversial' 'awareness-raising' strategies) are overall
'but even if it's terrible and racist and oversimplified and militaristic, at least we're RAISING AWARENESS!' (not the same thing, obviously, but similar 'maybe some good will come of it' arguments)
This piece is simply talking about whether women have the right to be free from the possibility of violent assaults on a deeply personal part of their bodies due to a flawed and irrational religious interpretation, which is a far less ambiguous subject.
similar only on the point of whether 'raising awareness' through offensive/racist/generally terrible means (whether a smug cheesy video or an extremely dodgy and poorly judged piece of art) can be 'worth it' or a good strategy overall if it gets people talking, which a lot of people argued with the kony thing
just in this particular case i think going 'well it's better than nothing' is... well, wrong
I certainly think it's a good example of an important universal human rights issue which many human rights campaigners and supporters of human rights campaigns tend to shy away from taking a stance on due to uncertainty around the cultural issues raised and that that's a huge problem.
I agree 'raising awareness' often just leads to a load of empty emoting and headscratching, and you could get onto entire sub-thread as to whether art ever really has the power or even the inclination to provoke anything more than that, but - as with many issues around equalities and oppression - it's not the worst thing on Earth to hammer the message out that it's unacceptable as often as possible with the hope that eventually it starts to register with people with the will and motivation to actually take some practical action. This on its own would have very little impact. This and 5, 000 other art projects, essays and campaign against female circumcision might actually achieve something in the end.
but i can't say i've come across many (any?) people who don't think fgm is an unequivocally bad thing (apart from MRAs who get outraged than nobody is banning male circumcision because FEMALE SUPREMACY). there may be disagreement on what we can or should realistically *do* about it in the west, but i don't rly think it's something regularly framed as 'quaint cultural difference'
is "blackface" a transcendental signifier?
but there's still 'issues' with it being used in art, that I can't be talking about right now.
anything that mentions immigration or rape though, stay well away
to say he thought that speedbumps were morally wrong.
i was talking about 'the local', the swedish website in the op
time to log off
what's the broad political persuasion of the current gov't in Sweden? what's the party system and overall political environment like (both in a governmental/parliamentary sense and a more general social sense)?
Because the woman is white and the cake is black, there must automatically be a racial element to the proceddings? That's a pretty racist viewpoint to hold.
not even trolling.
I don't have any problem with this as an artwork at all. It's pretty stupid for the Swedish minister to get involved, but I think it's a totally legit work of art.
It's obviously not racist in any way at all.
The problem with stuff like this is when it blows up, taken out of the gallery context, an artist's context and a history of art context and placed into tabloid world then it's far more likely to be misinterpreted.
but also Kitimbwa Sabuni, spokesperson for the National Afro-Swedish Association, and then us too, get involved.
I'm not overly concerned about making the argument defending that point.
widespread attention may be the goal, and with that you'll obviously get misinterpretation, but I'm guessing that the ministers possible dismissal will be an unintended consequence.
success is totally dependent on intention is it not?
I mean what would you do in this situation? it's just so... surreal.
to the extent that I no longer have to pause for thought in this sort of situation.
and someone asks you to cut the cake. Just so happens that part of the cake is blacked up and screaming, without warning. What the fuck do you do? Do you just refuse and walk out? It's a catch-22 situation.
I don't know if she did or even should have anticipated this situation. But being a fucking government minister at a photo op ...someone brings out a blacked up cake thing..like yeah alarm bells, at least. I appreciate not everyone's gonna react appropriately. But the government should. For this to happen and then for her to not resign is what's bad. It's made international news. Sweden looks really bad and like they're not taking racism seriously.
She probably should have yes, but instant reactions when presented with something awkward like this can be illogical: I think the reason she's laughing so much is because she's nervous and justifiably weirded out by the whole situation. If she walks she could be painted as having no sense of humour/no respect. In my opinion, it's the artist who's the idiot here. What was he thinking?
I think your reaction is not necessarily typical of your opinions, but more of your character, which judging from on here, is rather take no prisoners and very principled. Which is no bad thing at all, and in fact v commendable.
When you're a politician you're always more nervous about making snap decisions, you are always worrying one way or the other how people will paint your actions either way.
but yeah she should be getting sacked as soon this comes to the pm's attention really.
And you know it. My point wasn't that the whole stunt wasn't deeply offensive, but more the fact that the Minister was put in a very difficult situation which she could never have anticipated.
Fully expecting you to fire back well she should have been, which is a fully naive statement to make.
seems like something that would have been planned and arranged in advance, no?
She'll have had the following information: The event is about FGM. There is a performance art exhibition. You will be asked to cut a cake and have a drink with people. Be there at this time.
Seriously, the whole situation is incredibly bizarre and disturbing, but I think blaming the Minister for this is absolutely out of line. It's like one of those everything goes wrong at once moments from The Thick Of It.
all of the subsequent conduct and statements are what matters.
She doesn't even look at all awkward.
in that case i'd prob agree it's not totally fair to completely condemn her for participating (tho it is still a bit unnerving how jolly and unbothered everyone in that video looks), but as DD says the 'apology' is pretty sour. "it is unfortunate and highly regrettable that the presentation has been interpreted as an expression of racism by some"? basically just saying 'not my fault that you didn't GET IT, national afro-swedish association' rather than acknowledging that it was a pooly judged piece in the first place
Is it possible for a black man to 'black up'? And, if so, is it racist if a black man 'blacks up'?
This guy on the Guardian seems to think so, but i'm not so sure. Does the fact that artist is black make any difference to the alleged racism of the alleged artwork?
It's not in this case tho
using racist imagery does not equal being racist
not with the one before it. it might be debatable but when lots and lots of the people who actually suffer from racism (and organisations that deal with racism) have unequivocally said 'yes, we think this is racist' it's probably worth taking that into account in your analysis
especially given the fact it's made by a black artist. but when it appears in the context of lots and lots of black people saying 'we find this racist' (also misogynist elements but let's not get into that) i think it's the base level of decency to acknowledge that it can reasonably be interpreted as racist, rather than knee-jerk going 'nah they are just oversensitive/don't GET IT'
That's why upthread I said something about artworks like this being problematic when taken out of a gallery, history of art and artists career context.
I think it boils down to - is this a representation of a black woman or a representation of racist imagery.
I believe that it's a representation of racist imagery and therefore it's a work about racism, not a work that is racist
As the knee jerk reaction, when a two minute google of the artist's previous work gives sufficent information to confirm it's not racist
Certainly in that context, it can reasonably be interpreted as racist but the fact that lots of people can interpret something as offensive doesn't necessarily ACTUALLY mean it is offensive or that the artist was wrong to do it.
Which is away from the question of whether this is wrong or right (it unquestionably was grossly misjudged) but I just think that the argument that lots of people are offended so therefore we must decide its offensive (sorry if I misinterpreted you and that isn't what you were saying) has worrying implications for, say, legitimate criticism of religions or indeed anyone who tries to criticise the status quo.
it's the whole ...> people who don't/can't self-identify as racists excusing offensive or inappropriate behaviour because they are too stupid to identify their own behaviour as inappropriate or offensive