Hvid[mə] Archive Presents:
Searching for Utopia. The African American/Danish Archives
by Ethelene Whitmire
A visual presentation of Whitmire’s research in connection to her upcoming book.
May 27 2017 at 2.30-4pm
Searching for Utopia. The African American/Danish Archives project is an interdisciplinary and historical collection of primary and secondary sources in English and Danish documenting the lives of African Americans in Denmark during the 20th century. Whitmire’s book-in-progress explores the questions:
Why did African Americans go to Denmark? What were their experiences while there? and Was Denmark a racial utopia for African Americans?
Whitmire ́s current archival research project explores the experiences of African Americans who studied, visited, lived and performed in Denmark during the 20th century. Educators, artist, social workers, writers, singers, jazz musicians among many others, were drawn to the Scandinavian countries and Whitmire will visually present their stories and her own encounters of the process in writing her upcoming book.
The research-collection contains Census records, biographies, passenger lists, memoirs, government documents, newspaper articles, personal and professional correspondence, photographs, ethno- graphic observations, scrapbooks, interviews, documentaries, novels, a short story, music, paintings, prints and drawings.
Bio: Ethelene Whitmire is from Passaic, New Jersey, USA. She is an author, amateur documentary lmmaker and a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison af liated with the Departments of Afro-American Studies, Nordic Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies. She is currently a Fulbright and visiting Scholar at the University of Copenhagen – Center for Transnational American Studies.
Ledgers From a Lost Kingdom
March 11 – June 17 2017
There exists an extensive archive of transactional information about Denmark’s relations to its former colonies through documents, images and objects. However, since the sale of the Danish West Indies in 1917, most of this information was retrieved by Denmark, stored and archived far from the people of the now named US Virgin Islands.
The upcoming centenary has prompted the digitization of these archives, making them available for public consumption. Yet, when records have been inaccessible to a community for so long, other ways of creating collective memory takes over. Alternative accounts are formed through oral traditions, material culture and architecture that challenge some of the silence inherent in the colonial order of things as seen through its archival productions. La Vaughn Belle uses her work as a way of adding to the records by creating counter-narratives. She uses the framework of a ledger to challenge the objective authority of the archive by both adding her own subjectivity as well as documenting the agency of the subjects these archives portray. Similarly she looks at how the architecture of the Virgin Islands is a physical trace of the ways in which people constructed and negotiated their identities and spaces of freedom.
La Vaughn Belle’s solo-contribution is exhibited alongside Annarosa Krøyer Holm’s Chromophobia fig. 1 and Hvid[mə] Archive. For the opening on march 10 Hvid[me] Archive will be updated with new contributions.
Read more about the exhibition.