Nicholas Mirzoeff, "The Space of Appearance: Infrastructures of Whiteness"

Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 7 - 8:30pm

Add to Calendar

Site of former Rhodes Statue, UCT. Photo by N. Mirzoeff

Site of former Rhodes Statue, UCT. Photo by N. Mirzoeff

Nicholas Mirzoeff delivers a free, public lecture as part of the Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series that asks how whiteness and white supremacy have been able to reproduce themselves. It takes its direction from Kwame Nkrumah's injunction to "face forward" to bring together the practice of multi-screen moving image installation and media theory of infrastructure. Nicholas Mirzoeff looks at how museums, monuments, and formal spaces of incarceration interact to sustain regimes of segregation, taking examples ranging from Danish refugee detention centers to the American Museum of Natural History, Rhodes Must Fall, and the Great March of Return in Gaza. 

Nicholas Mirzoeff is a visual activist, working at the intersection of politics, race and globaNick Mirzoeffl/visual culture. Among his recent publications are The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality (2011) and How to See the World (2015). His new project, The Appearance of Black Lives Matter, was published in 2017 as a free e-book, and in 2018 as a limited edition print book with the art project “The Bad Air Smelled Of Roses” by Carl Pope and a poem by Karen Pope, both by NAME Publications, Miami. Since Charlottesville, he has been active in the movement to take down statues commemorating settler colonialism and/or white supremacy and convened the collaborative syllabus All The Monuments Must Fall. A frequent blogger and writer, his work has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Time and The New Republic.

The Spring 2019 IDS Lecture Series at The Cooper Union is organized by Leslie Hewitt and Omar Berrada. The IDS Public Lecture Series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding and support from the Robert Lehman Foundation for the series. The IDS Public Lecture Series is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. 

Photo of Nicholas Mirzoeff by MTL+.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.