Seminar: Uncertain Archives at the University of Copenhagen

Invited by Nanna Bonde Thylstrup of the Arts and Cultural Studies Department at the University of Copenhagen, Belle will be doing a seminar that talks about her work with the the Danish colonial period and its archives. Seating is limited. Please sign up with nannab@hum.ku.dk before March 9, 2017. 

La Vaughn Belle

Uncertain Archives featuring La Vaughn Belle.

Archives are instruments and sites of memory that intertwine past and present, here and there, in dizzying ways. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of the archival collections that were culled from the Danish rule over the US Virgin Islands. While the archival material – and the colonial regime that produced it – is often framed as things of “the past”, the working of the archive also shows how the past nevertheless remains a present fact in both the former colonies as well as former colonial regimes.

We will discuss these issues with artist La Vaughn Belle in relation to her ongoing archival work, focusing on questions of authority, authenticity and subjectivity.

Bio

La Vaughn Belle is a leading multidisciplinary artist from the US Virgin Islands whose work has centered around creating narratives that challenge colonial hierarchies and narratives.

She holds a MFA from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba and an MA and BA from Columbia University in NYC.

She has taught Humanities and Visual Arts at the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands.

Her work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout the Caribbean, the USA and Denmark such as the Museo del Barrio in NY, the Havana biennial, the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen and the Whim Plantation Museum in St. Croix.

Over the last 10 years her work has focussed on the colonial legacy of the US Virgin Islands. Having changed hands seven times, the longest being Denmark and the last being the United States the question of coloniality has been a central theme in her work. She looks at history, architecture and other aspects of material culture to create a space to explore collective narratives, memory and identity. Her work is often presenting alternative narratives of resistance and agency and the power of the imagination to redefine our understanding of our world.