Navigating Caribbean Visual Languages in Digital Art Mediums

  1. 1. Natalie McGuire

    Fresh Milk Platform, Inc., University of Auckland

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The carefully constructed yet diverse and disparate nature of Caribbean culture has left it somewhat vulnerable to adaptation and reappropriation. In a more specific context, its vulnerability has left it unable to scale the barriers around what contemporary Caribbean art could be. Krista Thompson states “If we can understand something more of the complicated, unique, and multiple histories surrounding the “learning of looking” in the region, we could develop more in-depth analyses of artists working in the Caribbean and the complex visual grammars they work through and against.” What exactly are these complex visual grammars, and how do digital mediums weave in with the “learning of looking” idea? This purpose of this paper is two-fold: 1) it proposes to dissect how through the use of digital mediums in contemporary Caribbean art practice, the visual language of Caribbean culture is expanding. In this context, it will navigate the work of three contemporary artists and cushion their processes with critical cultural theory: Rodell Warner, Olivia McGilchrist and Alberta Whittle, each of whom within the nurturing digital sphere have been able to deconstruct, (re)co-create and collectively enunciate a multitude of notions of the Caribbean existence; and 2) weaved throughout the first aspect, is the suggestion of altering the term ‘Caribbean Identity’ to ‘Caribbean Existence’ in cultural theory, facilitated by the digital space. ‘Identity’ to a Caribbean creative now arguably generates connotations of restriction and expectation; the term existence is flexible, a living organism that transcends geographical ties and creates a platform where ‘diaspora’ is no longer a separate entity to the experience of those living in the islands, but an internal and external exchange. I would be presenting the paper over Skype (or another video conferencing software recommended by Small Axe) from where I am currently residing in New Zealand. This in itself adds an explicitly tangible aspect of functioning through a digital space.

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Conference Info

In review

Caribbean Digital - 2014

Hosted at Barnard College, Columbia University

New York, New York, United States

Dec. 4, 2014 - Dec. 5, 2014

31 works by 38 authors indexed

Series: Caribbean Digital (1)

Organizers: Caribbean Digital

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None