Colorblind? Theorizing Race in Danish Contemporary Art and Performance

Postdoc project by Mathias Danbolt

Racism has been the subject of heated and antagonistic debates in Denmark over the last years. The postdoc project Colorblind? proposes that contemporary art and performance can provide us with a more nuanced understanding of how the concept of race informs perceptions of difference in relation to ideas of culture, gender, sexuality, and class in present-day Danish culture. By developing a theoretical model for understanding race as an intersectional medium that structures perception, experience, and thought, the project explores how works of art and performance can remediate and challenge dominant racialized processes of subjectivation, marginalization, and privilege.

Colorblind? examines how artists including Elmgreen & Dragset, Jane Jin Kaisen, and Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen use aesthetic mediums such as performance, photography, video, and installation art to address questions of racism. Through a series of close readings of aesthetic practice, the project re-approaches race as a mediatory concept that shapes ways of seeing, sensing, and representing the world. As the first in-depth study of conceptualizations of race in the aesthetic disciplines in Denmark, Colorblind? seeks to create new theoretical concepts and analytical approaches that will be of use when engaging with representations of difference and sameness, inclusion and exclusion in art and performance, as well as the cultural field at large.

The research project will result in a series of articles, as well as a seminar series on art, affect and racism at the University of Copenhagen (2014- 2016), and an international conference on remediations of race in art and culture in the spring of 2016.

The project Colorblind? is supported by the Danish Independent Research Council (FKK) and Sapere Aude – The Danish Indepentent Research Council’s Research Career Program.