FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHITE GAZE: New Works by Michelle Dizon with the Poetry of Việt Lê
at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
San Francisco; March 12, 2018:
The Arts at CIIS presents WHITE GAZE, an exhibition of works by Michelle Dizon with the poetry of Việt Lê. In this body of work, Dizon deconstructs an archive of National Geographic magazines to explore the visual and narrative structure of the magazine’s White Gaze, the Western-centric bias that informed the magazine’s editorial decision-making for decades.
With the release of National Geographic’s April 2018 issue that explicitly addresses race in
contemporary society, the magazine has embarked on a reckoning with its past and its complicity in reinforcing racist hierarchies in the white American narrative. Drawing from her archive of magazines, Dizon uses poetic subtraction, the erasure of most of the text on the page, to give us back the original language in fragments or threads that together write a decolonial counterpoint to the Western-centric focus of the pictures. For example, one image from White Gaze is taken from page 83 of a 1944 edition of National Geographic. A black and white photograph pictures a man from the Pacific Islands in an undershirt and khakis looking into the lens of the large format camera of a shirtless white American photographer. All of the original text is erased, but for a single line that reads, “the camera may be a gun.” In fact, much as photography provided the visual evidence for the racist pseudo-science of phrenology, National Geographic provided the visual language that undergirded the social, political, and economic assumptions of colonial rule. Dizon’s selection of images lay bare the white gaze, making visible the visual language of empire and the photographic medium’s role in supporting an imperialist world view.
White Gaze has also been published as a book by Bay Area-based Sming Sming Books, Chicago-based Candor Arts, and Los Angeles-based at lands edge, and includes text by Việt Lê, who uses Dizon’s work as a starting point for a poetic exploration of the legacies of war and empire.
For calendar editors:
What: White Gaze | Michelle Dizon with the poetry of Việt Lê
When: March 20-June 30, 2018
Where: California Institute of Integral Studies, 4 th floor
1453 Mission Street (at 11 th Street)
San Francisco CA 94103
Reception and Artist Talk: Sunday, March 25, 2018; 3:30PM; Desai | Matta Gallery
For more information on the Arts at CIIS:
For images, or interviews:
Arts at CIIS Curator: Deirdre Visser
About CIIS and the Arts at CIIS
California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) is an accredited university that strives to embody spirit, intellect, and wisdom in service to individuals, communities, and the earth. CIIS expands the boundaries of traditional degree programs with transdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and applied studies utilizing face-to- face, hybrid, and online pedagogical approaches. Offering a personal learning environment and supportive community, CIIS
provides an excellent multifaceted education for people committed to transforming themselves, others, and the world.
By Michelle Dizon and Việt Lê
PUBLISHED BY CANDOR/SMING SMING
7" x 10" x 3/8"
160 pages. Foil stamped on White Riso ink covers. Perfect bound.
Edition of 200 numbered copies.
Design by Vivian Sming.
Produced by Candor Arts.