Remixing Apartheid: An Analog/Digital Experience

Curator's Note

Apartheid, or the systematic oppression of minority South Africans during the 20th century, brought racialization to every aspect of South Africa, and led to civil war in the 1980s between resistance groups and the state (Clark). In this resistance, Afrapix was created, a collective of photographers who labored to document the growing unrest against the White minority through many means, including public photographic exhibitions (Afrapix). Some exhibitions ultimately became publications; including Beyond the Barricades: Popular Resistance in South Africa in the 1980s (Hill & Harris, 1989).

This project, named Beyond the Barricades, Reimagined, considers a remixing of the anti-apartheid photography found in the original version of the Beyond the Barricades exhibition and publication. This project asks visitors to immerse themselves in the descriptions and images of the South Africa of the 1980s, explore the curiosities of the large format projection medium, and reckon with the atrocities of the apartheid state. Beyond the Barricades, Reimagined invites users to see and experience the memory of apartheid through stories of South Africa’s racial past.

This short but rich visualization simulating the experience of the large-format space asks viewers to further their understanding of the analog/digital divide created by remixing an “analog” photography exhibition into a “digital” format. A binary has often been created between the analog and the digital, but Sterne (2016) critiques this framing, offering that creators should consider “the analog as a particular technocultural sphere. That is to say that reality is just as analog as it is digital; and conversely, that it is just as not-digital as it is not-analog” (p.41). Considering the original exhibition through a traditional frame might lead a viewer to consider it an analog piece; however, in Sterne’s reimagining, technology resides within the various milieus of human life. The 11x17 gelatin silver physical prints from the original Beyond the Barricades exhibition are no less digital than they are analog. They might be considered, as Sterne puts it, “jarring or artificial” (p. 40), but this reimaging is no more or less digital than its predecessor. Removing this analog/digital divide through a remixing of these very physical images into a large-format project space affords viewers space to reconsider these memories of apartheid.


Selected References:

Afrapix. South African History Online. (n.d.). Retrieved October 15, 2021, from 

Clark, N.L. & Worger, W.H. (2013). South Africa: The Rise and Fall of Apartheid (2nd ed.). Routledge. 

Haraway, D. J. (2016). Staying with the trouble: Making kin in the chthulucene. Duke University Press. 

Hill, I. T., & Harris, A. (1989). Beyond the barricades: Popular resistance in South Africa. New York, N.Y: Aperture.

Russell, L. (2020). Glitch Feminism: a Manifesto. Brooklyn, NY: Verso. 

Sterne, J. (2016). Analog. In B. Peters (Ed.), Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture (Vol. 8, pp. 80–93). Princeton University Press. 

Weinberg, P. (1984). Afrapix: Going beyond the image. Creative Camera, (235-236), 1478-1481.

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