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Delinda Collier

Apr 20, 2022

Media Primitivism

Technological Art in Africa

Duke University Press 2020

In Media Primitivism: Technological Art in Africa (Duke University Press, 2020) Delinda Collier provides a sweeping new understanding of technological media in African art, rethinking the assumptions that have conceptualized African art as unmediated, primary, and natural. Collier responds to these preoccupations by exploring African artworks that challenge these narratives. From one of the first works of electronic music, Halim El-Dabh’s Ta’abir Al-Zaar (1944), and Souleymane Cissé's 1987 film, Yeelen, to contemporary digital art, Collier argues that African media must be understood in relation to other modes of transfer and transmutation that have significant colonial and postcolonial histories, such as extractive mining and electricity. Collier reorients modern African art within a larger constellation of philosophies of aesthetics and technology, demonstrating how pivotal artworks transcend the distinctions between the constructed and the elemental, thereby expanding ideas about mediation and about what African art can do.

Holiday Powers is Assistant Professor of Art History at VCUarts Qatar. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, postcolonial theory, and gender studies.

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Holiday Powers

Holiday Powers is Assistant Professor of Art History at VCUarts Qatar. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in Africa and the Arab world, postcolonial theory, and gender studies.

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