Art & Art History Lecture: Brynn Hatton

Not Here to be ‘Recognised’: Vietnam, Aboriginal Black Power, and the Australian State

In the late 1960s, two Australian protest movements shaped the political imagination of the country’s left wing: the Aboriginal Black Power movement, and the anti-Vietnam War Moratorium. Because they shared core ideologies of anti-imperialism, anti-racism, and indigenous self-determination, these two activist hubs possessed the necessary ingredients to effectively and powerfully combine forces, and extend their messages beyond local grievances and territorial borders. Such an extension would have also cogently linked up with the zeitgeist of ‘60s leftist protest and its global energies circulating around themes of decolonization and transnational anti-war solidarity. Yet each of these Australian social movements remained hyperlocal, unable to metaphorically “see” one another -- or the world at large -- across the plane of inter-movement solidarity simultaneously erected by their international artist and activist contemporaries. To make the case that this particular lack of political vision amounted to a failed aesthetic conceptualization of space, this talk analyzes visual politics of city planning and urban design as keyed to two pivotal moments in the history of Australian land interpretation: the consolidation of the Australian state and the construction of the capital territory in Canberra in the early 20th century; and 1967’s Operation Ainslie, an urban resettlement counter-insurgency campaign carried out by Australian armed forces in southern Vietnam during the height of the war with the United States.

Brynn Hatton (Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2016) is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Art at Colgate University. Her research examines transnational visual cultures of protest, conceptual art, and the formation of leftist art and political discourse in the 1960s and 70s around the idea of Vietnam. She has taught previously at Williams College, Northwestern University, and Africa Modern Arts Project (an experimental arts school in Bagamoyo, Tanzania), and her writing has been published recently in the Journal of Visual Culture, ArtMargins, Marges, Al-Raida, MCADNA, and Artforum.

Wednesday, February 6 at 4:30pm

Little Hall, 105, Golden Auditorium


Arts, Academics, Arts and Humanities

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