Mellon Decade Fellow Delinda Collier presents "Natural Media—Light, Water, and Wind—in Souleymane Cissé’s Finye (1982) and Yeelen (1987) ."
Cissé’s un-commonsense proposition about “new” mediums is that they are both reducible to natural media and arbitrarily connected to language. This relieves his films from the burden of primitivism, as they begin with the notion that nothing is natural, least of all representations of Africa.
Delinda Collier is associate professor of art history, theory, and criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her fields of research are Southern African art, new media art, and Cold War cultures. She is the author of the book Repainting the Walls of Lunda: Information Colonialism and Angolan Art (2016) and has articles in Nka, Critical Interventions, Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Third Text, and African Arts. At the Clark, Collier will work on Essays on The History of New Media Art in Africa, a book that investigates the “new” of new media and the methods by which the new is folded into the archaic and the natural. It will be the first book to devote itself entirely to new media art in Africa: that is, to pose “new media” art from or about Africa as the central question.