on British secret-agent Gertrude Bell
and her field photography in Mesopotamia
British historian and diplomat Gertrude Bell's (1884-1926) movements in the Middle East as archaeologist and European woman were part of a problematic intersection of colonial powers and interests, thus throwing a shadow on history that also, literally, appears in her photographs. Nevertheless, the formal language Bell chose for her photography indicates a readiness to get close up and let herself be affected, especially so when compared to ways in which Bell’s collegues in archaeology used the medium. The lecture-performance Rock and clay improvisation investigates her photographs: do they challenge the regime of the gaze and the scientific conformism of the time? And how do these photographs reflect on visual practice in general?
In her 45 minutes long piece, Judith Raum modulates the space of the stage with a light source, shadows, strings, rocks, video projections of photographs, and text.
Produced for the performing & performance arts festival Live Works Vol. 6 at Centrale Fies, Italy.