Aesthetic Dignity: Confronting the Fraught Legacy of Els Opsomer’s Senegalese Videos

Hilde Van Gelder


This essay analyzes two video works by the Belgian artist Els Opsomer (_imovie[3]_: Silver lips / for me, 2006, and Building Stories #001 [That distant piece of mine], 2014). It does so from the comparative perspective of the performanceDe Waarheidscommissie,Expo 1913–2013: De tentoongestelde mens(by Belgian theatre company Action Zoo Humain), which was a fierce condemnation of the infamous Ghent World Exposition of 1913. Such a comparison allows the argumentation to focus both on the differences between artistic media and the messages conveyed in them.


Els Opsomer; Action Zoo Humain; aesthetic dignity; photofilmic; Ghent World Exposition 1913; postcolonialism

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Online Magazine of the Visual Narrative - ISSN 1780-678X