The Cannibalization of the Other. Mirror, Art, and Postcolonialism in Kader Attia’s Repair. 5 Acts. By Thomas Reinhardt, 2013

Acts of Cannibalism
Around 1510 the Portuguese painter Jorge Afonso (ca. 1470–1540) put the final touches on a depiction of the Annunciation. The painting, in the Italian style, is an early exercise in central-perspective composition. The Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel kneeling before a lectern take up the foreground, while the Holy Spirit floats above the scene like a round lamp. A suite of rooms, stairways, furniture, and porticoes attempts (with quite limited success) to give an impression of spatial depth. In accordance with contemporary taste, the clothing, physiognomy, and architecture are apparently of modern provenance. The same is true for the book being read by Mary and the vase of flowers in the background. Viewers of the time would not have had difficulty understanding it. Presenting the other in the mode of the self was common practice—and would remain so for several centuries.1
Of interest, however, is the question of what functions as “the self” in Afonso’s Anunciação. Maria and Gabriel are kneeling on a mat that at first glance looks rather unspectacular, like a patterned mat made of bast fiber; upon closer examination, it turns out to be a raffia mat in the typical design of the Bakongo from the region at the mouth of the Congo River. Portuguese sailors under Diogo Cão reached the region in 1482 and soon intensified peaceful relations with the local ruler, the Mani-Kongo Nzinga. He had already been baptized in 1491 and sent the first emissaries to Portugal. His son and successor, Afonso I, elevated Christianity to the status of a state religion and is considered to be the first indigenous king of a Christian, African kingdom south of the Sahara.
Relations between Portugal and the Kongo would, however, already cool down considerably during Afonso’s reign, and by the mid-seventeenth century at the latest, the Kingdom of Kongo had become just one part of the broad Portuguese colonial empire. For a few brief decades, however—including the one in which Jorge Afonso painted his Annunciation—the European-African encounter in the Kongo took place on equal terms, and Occidental painting at this time worked with “African” motifs with the same lack of prejudice as African artists integrated Christian symbols into their works.2 Neither direction of transfer is in any way an expression of a search for exoticism or of inspiration by a “primitive” other, as was typical of the assimilation of African aesthetics in the art discourse of classical modernism in the early twentieth century. What concerned Afonso and the African artists, who remain nameless, was not so much the enrichment of form by means of a radically foreign aesthetic, but rather a simple integration of objects, forms, and motifs that were perceived as beautiful or practical or important into their archive of materials.
“Appropriation” is what one would call this today in ethnology, making reference to how every form of cultural contact inevitably leads to manifold instances of blending and reinterpretation. One might also call the same structural principle cannibalism, “antropofagia,” as per Oswald de Andrade. When Andrade laconically declares “Tupí or not tupí: that is the question” in his Manifesto Antropófago, he is overwriting the monologizing presence of the skeptical Danish prince with the phonetic mimicry of the Tupí Indians, who in the European imagination came to be perceived as prototypical cannibals. The thought might be taken even further here: “to be” means “Tupí.” The only conceivable form of being is thus that of the cultural cannibal, who devours and transforms the surrounding world. Or to again cite the words of Andrade: “Cannibalism alone unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically. The world’s single law. . . . I am only concerned with what is not mine.”3
Andrade’s cannibal is not the wild other of European horror stories about foreign regions of the world; his practice is the “absorption of the sacred enemy. To transform him into a totem.”4 The self and the other thus enter into an inseparable alliance. As a visible external boundary of cognitive awareness, the human body must relinquish its illusionary autonomy and intermingle in order to be able to survive. For the cannibal, “his food is prior and subsequent at the same time,”5 and he draws his polyculturalist strengths from precisely this paradoxical constellation. From such a perspective, the pure, the unmixed, the original can only arise as a utopian phantasm. Culture, language, and art are always already mixed, are hybrid evocations of an origin that has never existed. If it is true, however, that the examination of the other inevitably implies an incorporation thereof, then the opposition of self/other, inside/outside, I/you dissolves at the very moment that it comes into being. A raffia mat from the Congo then becomes a quite natural element in a European scene that reconstructs an event from the Near East. Culture, one might instead say, requires contact with an other so that it does not ossify.
Incorporation, introjection, and internalization are not one-way streets, of course. A critique of colonialism that originates one-sidedly from an assimilation of the other into “European” values and norms would therefore be just as mistaken as one that exclusively denounces the exploitation of indigenous knowledge by the global North. “Cultures” that come into contact with one another devour each other reciprocally, and in doing so generate different hybrid forms in each case. “Africa in Europe” is something different than “Europe in Africa,” even when both are indebted to the same contact situation. The critical analysis cannot be limited to mourning lost origins but must instead work out the different accentuations of two-way appropriation, observe power structures and drawings of boundaries, and show the unavoidable dialogic dimension of every cultural practice6 in its own particular combinatorics.

Europe long viewed itself in the mirror of its non-European other and discovered its inner self not least by means of this exoticizing gaze.7 A look back to when Europe played the role of the other was thus largely ignored. Discursive processes and the balance of power simply seemed too obvious for a serious examination of practices of appropriation to have been deemed necessary. Therefore, it was not until recent decades that a change in thinking evolved, with this rethinking at first involving only a few disciplines in addition to ethnology.
A central intermediary role for the new way of thinking about cultural contact as a combinatory and recombinatory practice can be assigned to art. The French (?) installation artist Kader Attia addresses the corresponding questions in his work under the title Reparatur/Repair (2013). It is therefore worthwhile to briefly consider the origins of the term. The German reference work Duden describes “Reparatur” simply as “work that is carried out in order to repair something.” This at least makes reference to the associated verb, which defines the process somewhat more narrowly: “to bring something that no longer functions, has gone to pieces, has become defective or damaged, back to its previously intact, usable condition again.” The related German term “Reparation” also denotes, in addition to financial transactions compensating for war damage, the “natural replacement of corrupted, necrotic body tissue by means of granulation and scar tissue within the framework of the healing of wounds.”8
Semantically, the definition is comparatively unproductive. Much more interesting here is the English definition. For the verb “repair,” the 2008 edition of Webster’s New College Dictionary names four main meanings: restore, remedy, renew, compensate for. Differentiated in the case of the identical noun are: the process of repairing, the general condition after repairing, an instance of repairing. The etymological root of the term is the Middle English repairen, which found its way to the island via the Old French reparer (from Lat. reparare). In English, there is, however, also a homonym, “repair,” which is not derived from reparare (to bring back into order again) but instead can be traced back to the Late Latin repatriare (to return to one’s country).9 If we also consider Attia’s French mother tongue, it is possible to add the folk-etymological aspect of “pairing or mating,” the (re)uniting of people and things that have been torn apart or (randomly) brought together by the vicissitudes of time. The title of Attia’s exhibition can thus be read as: restoration, remedy, renewal, compensation, returning, pairing . . .
Attia himself defines repair as “reconstruction in an extended sense, and thus as a kind tool which can be applied to political, cultural, and scientific topics to examine their various interactions.”10 The five acts, through which he negotiates various aspects of such reappropriations, each address different facets of the motif and situate it in a broader context: in addition to the “continuity of repair” already addressed, these are “culture,” “politics,” “science,” and “nature.” In some, it is a cultural debt that is addressed, or exploitation and oppression, racism and discrimination. Others stretch the theme of appropriation much further and impressively show that when two do the same thing, it is still far from being the same.
What might therefore come to mind is Jorge Luis Borges’s both brief and absurd short story “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” in which the narrator has a French Symbolist prepare to write the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first volume of Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Not to copy or imitate, and in no way to adapt or set in a new time, but rather truly to write—as an author of the twentieth century, but in a way that would ultimately allow him to produce at least a couple of pages that “coincided—word for word and line for line—with those of Miguel de Cervantes.”11 The Menard of the short story destroys all outlines and preliminary stages of the finished text and in this way effaces the traces of its creation. At the end of years of work, there are therefore only the two chapters, which superficially cannot be distinguished from those of Cervantes. Here “superficially” is used because: “The Cervantes text and Menard text are verbally identical, but the second is almost infinitely richer.”12 And what is even important: “I have reflected that it is legitimate to see the ‘final’ Quixote as a kind of palimpsest on which the traces—faint but not undecipherable—of our friend’s ‘previous’ text must shine through.”13
It is a truism that what matters is who says something. Attia’s Repair shows this exemplarily in the example of the Banania totem pole in the second act, Politics. Banania was a chocolate drink that was sold primarily in France and advertised starting in the nineteen-thirties using the picture of Senegalese tirailleur (the “L’ami y’a bon”), who holds a spoon in his hand and says “y’a bon . . . Banania” in the style characteristic of the petit nègre. For Frantz Fanon, trailblazer and coiner of keywords relating to postcolonial critique, European racism achieved its most perfidious form in the belittling “y’a bon”: “I cast an objective gaze over myself, discovered my blackness, my ethnic features; deafened by cannibalism, backwardness, fetishism, racial stigmas, slave traders, and above all, yes, above all, the grinning Y a bon Banania.”14
The Banania totem pole moreover makes reference to yet another aspect of Europe’s debt to Africa. It is not without reason that the totem pole shows a picture of an African soldier under the bust of a European military man. In both world wars, the European colonial powers made plentiful use of their “colonial subjects” and sent large numbers of African soldiers to the battlefields of Europe. There, the tirailleurs paid not only a high toll in lives; they were sometimes even denied pay for their period of service and the pensions to which they were entitled after the war ended. It was for this reason that soldiers returning from the war staged protests at Camp Thiaroye near Dakar in December 1944, protests that led the French commandant of the fort to have shots fired at the demonstrators and to allow them to be massacred. An animated short film by Rachid Bouchareb from 2004 takes on this topic—its title: L’ami y’a bon.15
The aspect of repetition plays a role in the case of “y’a bon” above all when dealing with the allocation of speaker roles. While the sentence might have been quite natural as expressed by a tirailleur in the thirties, its effect in advertising is decidedly racist and provocative as the title of the animated film on the events at Camp Thiaroye. The variance in meaning is thus to owed to more than just the different historical contexts, the different speakers, and different addressees. It also essentially results from the “Wiederholen,” or repetition, which is never exactly what it seems to be: a “Wieder-Holen,” or, literally, a taking or summoning once again. Whether only imitation or strategic citation, the repetition seems reinforced with new meaning, contaminated by altered context, and saturated with parasitical meanings.

Imitation without variance in meaning is not possible. When the Australian songbird Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) imitates chainsaws and the clicking of camera shutters as it does during its courtship display (Act 4: Nature: Mimesis as Resistance [2013]), these sounds no longer make reference to forestry work or tourists taking photos, but rather to the male’s desire to mate. In the text accompanying Repair. 5 Acts at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Kader Attia emphasizes that the bird is the only animal that has incorporated the sounds of its habitat being destroyed.16 However, at the same time, one must add that it has also cannibalized the sound of its being preserved in the act of being photographed. A bird that sounds like the click of a camera shutter practices a form of mimicry that apparently has no practical utility (driving off rivals for food, mobilizing “auxiliary troops” to fight off predators, etc.) beyond the purpose of purely impressing. As an index, the sound has lost its referents; as a simulacrum, it remains linked to the system of value and of imitation.17 The hyperreal character of human acts of simulation remains out of reach.
Something similar arises in connection with the stuffed animals in the same section of the exhibition (Act 4: Nature: Mimesis as Control [2013]). A stuffed cheetah, taxidermied apes and birds, a wooden box with mounted beetles—they are only weak echoes of the living creatures that once animated these physical shells. Taxidermal appropriation thus represents not only a considerable reduction of an original complexity, but also a very European one as well. The taxidermist’s seemingly self-evident, limited focus on the external appearance and on one facet of the haptic quality of specimens would not be possible without the Cartesian separation of the discerning mind (res cogitans) and corporeal substance (res extensa). The essence of the creature that is preserved can thus, in the best case, be partially comprehended. Although a stuffed animal is certainly similar to a living one in many respects, similarity as a category still remains much too vague for it to be presumed as a basis for a sphere of shared experience that transcends cultural divides.
The relationship of human beings to their environment can be conceived in various ways. Ethnology has shown that modernist naturalism in the tradition of Descartes represents only one such way. In addition, there is a range of other ontological concepts on equal footing that assume completely different boundary lines between the realms of the human and the non-human.18 The fact that the sense of sight is ultimately an unreliable representative when dealing with the localization of meaning is also something that Tobias Wendl convincingly presented in a comparative cultural study on photographs and other graphic forms of representation nearly two decades ago.19 If, however, even the reading of images with a central perspective takes effort to learn and is not inscribed in our sensory organs as a “natural” form of perception, then to what extent does this apply to the privileging of visible over “invisible” qualities (strength, endurance, sharp-sightedness, cleverness, etc.)? The African masks presented by Kader Attia in glass cases might provide a first impression of the fact that a “correct,” a “true to life” representation of living beings, does not perforce have to approximate them in the mode of the visual.

The modern Western ideal of repair aims primarily at an effacement of its trace. In the best case, a repaired object is “like new.” Neither the interim damage nor the vestiges of its being corrected should catch the eye of the observer. In repair, an attempt is made to divest the repaired object of its temporality and to return it to an “original state.” Here, an ocular-centrism that is similar to the simulation of living creatures by taxidermists prevails. It is paired with the ideological positing of a normal state, which the repair strives to achieve once again. Although this concept is in no way universal, with a view to the European appropriation of the world it proves to be quite symptomatic. It often appears coupled with a deeply rooted yearning for authenticity, a fetishizing of the original, and a rejection of any type of hybrid forms. It is the same characteristic normalizing mode about which the ethnologist and photographer Hugo Bernatzik once complained, asserting that the indigenous people of New Guinea spoiled his photographs because they integrated into their facial ornaments the colorful packaging material of the film canisters that he carelessly discarded, which has tourists today searching for “authentic” masks at African art markets. To put it in a nutshell: purity is good, amalgamation bad. This yearning for originality, however, fails to recognize the hybrid character of all culture and silences the polyphony of objects by attempting to force them into the straightjacket of a monologizing narrative.
This can never completely succeed. Objects, practices, and ideas do not exist independently of contexts, and every juxtaposition gives rise to new layers of meaning. The identity of objects and persons thus cannot be read as an intrinsic quality, but rather as a result of dialogues—of dialogues between things, dialogues between persons, dialogues between “cultures.” With regard to the identity of Africa and its diaspora since the sixteenth century, Paul Gilroy asserted the concept of the “Black Atlantic” twenty years ago.20 He describes a (black) “Atlantic” culture that does not lapse into specious essentialisms but instead has its basis in the movement of goods, people, and ideas over the Atlantic. Not “African,” not “European,” not “American,” but rather a bit of all of them, and none complete. Here, the question of origin loses its meaning. The fact that Afro-Americans in the nineteen-seventies combed their hair into prominent Afro hairdos or turned dreadlocks in order to celebrate their Africanness and cultivate what they considered to be a genuinely African style is just as legitimate in a culture of the “Black Atlantic” as in the countermovement on the African continent, where the same hairdos were cultivated as an expression of the connection to American modernism.21
Tracing such discursive contradictions and fault lines is undoubtedly worthwhile, and the documented history of the European-African encounter since ancient times provides innumerable further examples.22 Depending on the political goals of the particular time, Africa functioned as the noble savage or the barbarous-cannibalistic other of Europe, and vice versa—as a bright or dark mirror in which one catches sight of oneself shining brightly in the light of a higher civilization or else savage and degenerate.

The Mirror
As a good medium, the mirror, when we look into it, remains below the threshold of perception to a great extent.23 It evades being seen as a result of a specific form of “aisthetic neutrality”24 and/or “an-aistheticization and self-neutralization.”25 Generally speaking, it first becomes visible (like all media) when it does not function (anymore), when it “murmurs.” In the linear communication model by Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver, every murmur is conterminous with dysfunctionality. The fact that the media themselves speak is not anticipated here, hence it is neither precluded. The design of a dialogic reality breaks with the metaphysical illusion of the communication sciences. In it, things, messages, and thoughts are no longer simply for themselves but instead only still exist “as part of a process that cannot be concluded . . . , as a result of an eternal dialogue . . . , as a continuous becoming.”26 The becoming-visible of the medium is an important step toward this form of dialogic examination.
When Kader Attia “repairs” mirrors or books, he achieves precisely that: he generates dysfunctionalities and in this way forces a conversation between object and viewer. The masks studded with mirror shards and mended mirrors in Repair. 5 Acts refract wounded images and prompt viewers to consciously assemble the fragments of their mirror images into a whole. Allusions to injuries and scarring, to physical deformation and growth, are intended here. Seemingly fixed discourse positions are questioned or mixed up. Black becomes white—white becomes black. As in the case of the teak and marble sculptures that are juxtaposed in the second part of the exhibition, where on the one side there are gleaming white busts of African men and women made in Italy from Carrara marble, and on the other, dark heads of injured World War I veterans have been carved in dark teak in Senegal.
It is not least different aesthetics and conceptions of man that collide with one another here. Can scars be beautiful? How does the perfect human body look? Does the prevailing ideal of beauty demand preservation or modification? Should human beings preserve their bodies in the “natural state” or culturize them by means of scars, tattoos, deformations, or amputations? When and in what way does man become human?
The answers to these questions vary depending on where they are asked and of whom. Europe looks back on a long tradition of collecting, appropriating, and exploiting. In past centuries, it was mostly the white European man who told people in other parts of the world how things were to be done. Others were expected to listen and follow. Although this might still be the case in a large part of the world, the times where this was seen as the natural, correct, and only conceivable world order are now fortunately a thing of the past.

“The Empire Writes Back”27
At the beginning of this text, I placed a question mark in the phrase “French (?) installation artist.” Kader Attia was born in France as a son of Algerian parents and grew up between the banlieues of Paris and Algiers. He is thus a part of that majority of the world population whose lives have been shaped in one form or another by European colonialism and its aftereffects. He studied in Barcelona, spent several years in Congo-Brazzaville, and has now been living and working in Berlin for some time. In light of this résumé, it comes as no surprise that cultural essentialism is alien to the artist, nor does the fact that he makes use of cultural artifacts of different origins for his work with great naturalness. Polyglot and polycultural, Attia evades clear-cut classifications and presents himself as a wanderer between cultures who is at home in many locations in the Eastern and Western world, in the global South and the global North.
His “identity” is that of a postcolonial subject, an identity that is informed not by traditions and lore but by the complex interplay of roots and routes.28 The concept of culture for which he stands is not one that is organic, that has its specific location and its specific era, but rather one of competing historicities, of displacements and interferences—an ex-centric concept of culture that is defined not from a center but rather by its margins.29 Homi Bhabha even speaks of the nearly universal practice of creating “symbols of the elsewhere” for oneself, behind which the postcolonial subject of a globalized world rallies when a physical change of location, for whatever reason, does not come into question. As a result, for him, even people in the peripheral areas of non-movement become “travelers” within an economy of global movement.30
Displacement, rootlessness, diaspora—if there is something that unites the concepts, then it is their refusal to be tied down to one specific place. Their mode of being is that of a permanent in-between. They first acquire meaning in being reflected by what they are not.
In The Continuity of the Debt (2013), Kader Attia presents numerous “repaired” books. They come from the peak stage of the colonial project and tell stories of the heroism of European colonialists, who brought the light of civilization to the poor heathens in Africa and Asia. The repair that Attia has carried out—by “mending” their open edges with wire—silences them, just as they once condemned the “colonial subjects” to voicelessness. The stitched volumes can no longer be opened and can no longer disseminate their poisonous message. They nonetheless remain present as a memory trace and encourage us not to forget the past. Do they therefore speak? Can, as Gayatri Spivak once asked, possibly even “the subaltern speak” in this way?31 In the end, probably not. But uncomfortable art like that of Kader Attia can, in any case, encourage us (as the other of the subaltern) to listen to them.

1 This becomes quite clear in the wonderful woodcuts and etchings found in the collections of travel accounts by Theodor de Bry (1528–1598). While these collections have had an enduring influence on the colonial archive of images, they do not deal further with the distinctive features of non-European physiognomies but instead generate foreignness solely through an alienation of the self by means of nakedness or adornment.
2 What should be considered here in particular are the nkisi nkondi, the so-called “nail fetishes,” from the Congo, whose similarity to depictions of St. Sebastian caught the attention of numerous observers quite early on and might indeed represent an indigenous permutation of Christian iconography; see Zdenka Volavka, “The Nkisi of Lower Zaire,” African Arts 5 (1972), pp. 52–89.
3 Oswald de Andrade, “Cannibal Manifesto” (1928), Latin American Literary Review 19, no. 38 (July–December 1991), trans. Leslie Bary, pp. 36–47, esp. p. 38.
4 Ibid., p. 43.
5 Jens Andermann, “Antropofagia: Fiktionen der Einverleibung,” in Verschlungene Grenzen: Anthropophagie in Literatur und Kulturwissenschaften, ed. Anette Keck, Inka Kording, and Anja Prochaska (Tübingen, 1999), pp. 19–31, esp. p. 23. All citations from German sources have been translated into English by Amy J. Klement.
6 See Thomas Reinhardt, Jenseits der Schrift: Dialogische Anthropologie nach der Postmoderne (Frankfurt am Main, 2000).
7 See Edward W. Said, Orientalism (London, 1978).
8 “Reparatur : Substantiv, feminin—Arbeit, die ausgeführt wird, um etwas zu reparieren; das Reparieren; reparieren : schwaches Verb—etwas, was nicht mehr funktioniert, entzweigegangen ist, schadhaft geworden ist, wieder in den früheren intakten, gebrauchsfähigen Zustand bringen; Reparation : Substantiv, feminin—1. offiziell zwischen zwei Staaten ausgehandelte wirtschaftliche, finanzielle Leistungen zur Wiedergutmachung der Schäden, Zerstörungen, die ein besiegtes Land im Krieg in einem anderen Land angerichtet hat; 2. (Medizin) natürlicher Ersatz von zerstörtem, abgestorbenem Körpergewebe durch Granulations- und Narbengewebe im Rahmen der Wundheilung.”
Duden: Das grosse Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache in 10 Bänden (Mannheim, 1999), vol. 7, Pekt–Schi, pp. 3173–74. Emphasis added by the author.
9 “repair1 (ri-pâr’) v. –paired, -pair-ing, -pairs. [ME repairen < OFr. Reparer < Lat. reparare: re-, back + parare, to put in order]—vt. 1. To restore to sound condition after damage or injury: FIX. 2. To set right: REMEDY 3. To renew or refresh. 4. To compensate for (e.g. a loss or wrong). vi. To make repairs. –n. 1. The work, act, or process of repairing. 2. General condition after use or repairing 3. An instance of repairing.—re-pair’er n.
repair2 (ri-pâr’) vi. –paired, -pair-ing, -pairs. [ME reparen, to return < OFr. repairer < LLat. Repatriare, to return to one’s country.—see REPATRIATE. ] To betake oneself : GO –n. 1. An act of repairing. 2. A place to which one goes often or habitually : HAUNT. —re-pair’a-ble adj.”
Webster’s New College Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Boston, 2008), p. 961.
10 Cited in Ellen Blumenstein, “Kader Attia: Repair. 5 Acts. Four questions of the curator to the artist,” in the leaflet for the exhibition at KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin, 2013).
11 Jorge Luis Borges, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” in Fictions, trans. Andrew Hurley (New York, 1998), pp. 33–43, esp. p. 37.
12 Ibid., p. 40.
13 Ibid., p. 42.
14 Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952), trans. Richard Philcox (New York, 2008), p. 92. See also ibid., pp. 35–36, 116, and 163. The brand has meanwhile been taken off the market after an association of Antillean, Guianese, and Reunion citizens took legal action in 2005 against what in their opinion was a racist portrayal of blacks in Banania advertising.
15 Rachid Bouchareb, L’ami y’a bon, 2004, Tessalit Productions, Thoke+Moebius Film, Tassili Film, available online at: (accessed January 15, 2014).
16 See also Barbara Wittmann, “Prachtleierschwanz,” in Eine Naturgeschichte für das 21. Jahrhundert: Hommage à / zu Ehren von / in Honor of Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, ed. Department III of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin, 2011), pp. 113–16, esp. pp. 113ff.
17 Jean Baudrillard, Symbolic Exchange and Death, trans. Iain Hamilton Grant (London, 1993), p. 71.
18 Philippe Descola, Beyond Nature and Culture, trans. Janet Lloyd (Chicago, 2013).
19 Tobias Wendl, “Warum sie nicht sehen, was sie sehen könnten: Zur Perzeption von Fotografien im Kulturvergleich,” Anthropos 91 (1996), pp. 169–81.
20 Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (London, 1993).
21 Philippe Wamba, Kinship: A Family’s Journey in Africa and America (New York, 2000), pp. 95–96; Thomas Reinhardt, “And the tom-toms beat: Figuren der europäischen Imagination und das afroamerikanische Afrikabild von den Anfängen bis zur Äthiopienkrise 1935,” Paideuma 48 (2002), pp. 207–23, esp. p. 215.
22 See Thomas Reinhardt, History of Afrocentrism: Images of Africa and America Made in the USA (Stuttgart, 2007).
23 On this, see Marshall McLuhan’s thesis that it is “typical” that “the ‘content’ of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium,” among other sources; Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (New York, 1964), p. 24. A brief overview of the history of “an-aisthetic” media theories is provided by Sybille Krämer in Medium, Bote, Übertragung: Kleine Metaphysik der Medialität (Frankfurt am Main, 2008), pp. 273ff.
24 Sybille Krämer, “Erfüllen Medien eine Konstitutionsleistung? Thesen über die Rolle medientheoretischer Erwägungen beim Philosophieren,” in Medienphilosophie: Beiträge zur Klärung eines Begriffs, ed. Stefan Münker, Alexander Roesler, and Mike Sandbothe (Frankfurt am Main, 2003), pp. 78–90, esp. p. 81.
25 Krämer 2008 (see note 23), p. 274.
26 Reinhardt 2000 (see note 6), p. 226 (emphasis retained from the German original).
27 Title of the book of the same name by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin, The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice in Post-Colonial Literatures (London, 1989).
28 See James Clifford, who declares traveling and the traveler to be the prototype for culture in the late twentieth century: James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA, 1997), p. 6.
29 See ibid., p. 25.
30 “(P)eople caught in that margin of non-movement within an economy of movement,” cited in ibid., pp. 42–43.
31 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana, IL, 1988), pp. 271–313.


Published in the Kader Attia Exhibition Catalogue : Repair. 5 Acts, 2013, at Kunst-Werke, Berlin