The Politics of the Long Haul: Photography, Pro-Choice Artistic Practices and the Archive
3-5pm Thu 3 May
At NCAD 100 Thomas Street, Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, Dublin
Ticketed event →
This event has been organised by Photography/Archives/Ireland, which involves three academics/researchers – Ann Curran (DIT), Fiona Loughnane (NCAD) and Dr. Orla Fitzpatrick (NMI) – who share an interest in photography and the archive. The talk takes place immediately before the launch of the PhotoIreland Festival 2018, with Laia Abril’s internationally celebrated project On Abortion at the Copper House Gallery at 6pm,Thursday 3rd May.
The extended struggles over reproductive rights in Ireland represent what Lauren Berlant has termed a “politics of the long haul”. The upcoming referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment, as well as the anniversary of women’s suffrage, provides us with a threshold moment in which to discuss the visual politics of the Pro-Choice movement, focussed on the work of three photographers: Laia Abril, Emma Campbell and Sarah Cullen. All three artists engage with critical readings of the photographic archive, from feminist perspectives, to demonstrate and deconstruct the extensive historical, cultural and social repercussions of restrictions on abortion and other reproductive rights. They make the lived realities of the histories and stories of women visual, visible and public, as part of a multi-faceted activism committed to instigating change.
Photography and photographic technologies have been central to campaigns by both the international Pro-Life and Pro-Choice movements, from Lennart Nilsson’s foetal images, published in Life Magazine in 1965, to the infamous photograph of the corpse of Gerri Santoro. The photograph has thus been co-opted to serve both agendas, where its status as evidence and its relationship to the ‘real’ are often assumed rather than interrogated. This event brings together a group of artists who embrace the complexity of the visual and material culture around this issue. Each of their practices draw upon the role of photographic archive in the production of meaning in order to represent a range of perspectives on the multiple injustices that attend the denial of bodily autonomy to pregnant persons.