Images of the brutalized, dead, and dying can buy awards and recognition for journalists. When the opportunity presents itself, many rush to participate because they subscribe to the doctrine of redistributing pain as it is, not as it should be.
In highlighting a neglected piece of history that struck fear in the hearts of white enslavers, Scott made a statement about who gets to mine our history, simultaneously prompting questions about intentions, impact, and praxis.
In 1811, hundreds of enslaved people marched through Louisiana chanting “freedom or death.” While their oft-forgotten journey ended in massacre, artist Dread Scott spent six years organizing a reenactment to celebrate the legacy of their courage, to be staged November 8-9.
In spaces where many seek to center experiences of the overlooked, Blas begins by challenging why we’re all looking in the first place.
A reflection on the commodification of Jim Crow’s violence through public memorials.
Reproducing and repurposing brutal visuals carries the risk of desensitizing, and further reinforcing the terrorizing normalization of what shouldn’t be mundane.