The greatest challenge lies in recognizing and understanding that the Politics of Images faces the paradox of collecting images and presenting them while at the same time selecting and contextualizing them in an emancipatory way, in order to work against the hegemonic readings of them in existing archival forms. This task requires a critical consciousness in order to be able to define the true aspects and goals of the archival area. Changing the name of the area from ‘Photograpy’ to ‘Politics of Photography’ (Bilderpolitik) nominally confirms this approach.
01 Politics of Photography
However, what do I mean here by paradox? I'm referring, for example, to: project concepts and self-presentations without clear contextualization, along with the realization that we are dealing with a complex system that in many ways lacks a given or accepted order or means of understanding it; a structure in which the elements often get tangled up with each other in paradoxes whilst still having to become well-fitted parts of a complementary structure – these things lead us directly into contradictions. Yet analyzing such paradoxes can also lead to a deeper understanding of the documents, photographs and archive records of a minority and can, in the best case, dissolve the initial contradiction. New inter- and transcultural understandings and recognitions can emerge in cases where we are dealing with “central developments and questions in society as a whole,” where fellow citizens from the dominant segments of society become a part of the storytelling and the narratives of the minority. In this way, at least, renewed (self-/)ghettoization or cultural and social exile can be avoided.
The mission of an archive section in the politics of photography is primarily to stimulate discourse on the politics of collection, creation and design. The goal is to build critical consciousness and thereby promote the essential change that is still lacking in regards to racist attitudes in society and the portrayal of Roma, as well as the first step, already repeatedly taken, towards democratic acceptance and legal equality from the side of the state. As curator, I have to therefore focus less on the art and culture of the Sinti and Roma, but instead focus my critical gaze on the “why?” - on the context and the current moment that still demands me to produce a “representation of a minority”.