Deathscapes

As above so below: drone visualities of the aftermath, testimonies of the more-than-human and the politico-aesthetics of massacre sites

Deathscapes

As above so below: drone visualities of the aftermath, testimonies of the more-than-human and the politico-aesthetics of massacre sites

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Left screen: weir, Appin Massacre site. Adrian Stimson, As Above So Below (2016) (video stills). 2-channel 16:9 HD (1920 × 1080), 10: 24 s Copyright Adrian Stimson (2016)

ABSTRACT: In the wake of the 200th anniversary of a massacre that was foundational to the expansion and consolidation of the Australian settler-colonial state, two Indigenous curators, Tess Allas and David Garneau, staged a landmark exhibition, With Secrecy and Dispatch, to commemorate this event and to place it in dialogue with other colonial massacres. Adrian Stimson, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation, southern Alberta, Canada, contributed a drone-enabled, 2-channel video installation titled As Above So Below. Stimson’s work deployed drone visualities in order to expose layered histories of genocidal violence that inscribe both the Appin massacre and the Cypress Hills colonial massacre in Saskatchewan, Canada. In this essay, I discuss the complex and layered regimes of visuality that were enabled by an imaging technology, the drone, usually associated with its own contemporary military massacres. In deploying drone visualities, Stimson challenges and overturns doxic understandings of two foundational categories of Western aesthetics: the beautiful and the sublime. In the absence of the bodies that originally inscribed the bloody sites of two colonial massacres, Stimson mobilises more-than-human testimonies to give voice to the disappeared dead and to re-inscribe the colonial past into the colonial present.


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.

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