The Frame that Blinds Us


curated by Katharina Swoboda and Mare van Koningsveld

War is “framed” in the media so as to prevent us from recognising the people who are to be killed as living fully “grievable” lives, like ours. That is the thesis pursued in the book Frames of War by Judith Butler (1956) of reprinted talks and essays written since 2004.

The book is a text about the framing of Non-Western people in war times and how these frames can also be changed. This theory about how existing perceptions of ‘the other’ are confirmed but can also be changed, has not lost its urgency in these times of the refugee crisis, post-truth politics and right-wing political sentiments.

In ‘Frames of War’, Butler discusses what determines a life as recognizable and valuable post 9/11. She questions why some human lives are worthy of protection, while others (that are Non-Western) are not, in time of war as well as in a daily context. Butler believes that different forms of media are crucial players in modern times: imagery that is spread through modern technology like internet and television confirms political, media and other kind of ways Non-Western migrants are framed. But the same techniques can also oppose traditional ways of framing and create new ways of perception.

In this exhibition project ‘The frame that blinds us‘, several artists reflect on this theory and the current refugee crisis that became urgent from 2015 onward. All artists, from different backgrounds and with different angles and approaches, created new works with which they respond to topics like framing, migration and refugees, (social) media and contemporary technology and participation.

The frame that blinds us’ is a constantly developing exhibition project that will be presented in 2017 and 2018 in Budapest, Plowdiw, Graz and other places. The project also consists of a film program, performances and a publication.

Participating artists: Marta Fišerová / Marko Markovic / Sandro Dukic / Joe Joe Orangias / Kamen Stoyanov / Katharina Swoboda / Hristina Tasheva / Voin de Voin

Opening in Plowdiw, Bulgaria, June 30, 6 pm – FLUCA – Austrian Cultural Pavilion

In Plowdiw the movie In The Dark Times – Culture in Exil – will be screened within ‘The frame that blinds us’ on July 1, 9pm


Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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