Doug Fishbone: Elmina
Thu, January 19, 2012 7 pm CET, Film Screening
For the art world, globalization is an issue that manifests itself in the discourse about access to local and global forums and the necessity of social engagement; for a large part of the world’s population, processes of globalization directly affect the possibility of leading a self-determined life. In Elmina, Doug Fishbone initiates a collision of these two perspectives on globalization at several levels. Elmina is a Ghanaian film by the brothers Emmanuel and John Apea that addresses the West African audience with a dramatic tale of exploitation and power; but Elmina is also one of Fishbone’s art projects, which the artist both financed with money acquired from the art market and in which he himself played the leading role.
In the dramatized conflict between the farmer Ato Blankson and the corrupt rulers of the city, terms such as “progress” and “development” are merely pretexts for enrichment and the preservation of privileges, of conditions which culminate in most of the protagonists losing their moral integrity and, in some cases, losing their lives. Less drastic, but still conspicuous, are the conflicts broached by Elmina that touch on the system of globalized art: Is it legitimate to present, unquestioned, a white American in the role of a Ghanaian farmer? Does an appropriation take place here on the part of the artist, who transfers the commercial film product into the context of an exhibition, or rather by the Ghanaian filmmakers, who use the financial help of the art system to entertain their local audience?
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