Bouchra Khalili: Foreign Office
The Radcliffe Institute presents a solo exhibition featuring a selection of elements of Bouchra Khalili’s work from Foreign Office, consisting of a digital film of the same title, a group of photographs, and a silkscreen print, titled The Archipelago. The exhibition’s combination of artistic elements suggests an alternative historiography of utopian movements—working in concert, they invite reflection on potential gestures of resistance for the present and the future.
Khalili’s work focuses on the period between 1962 and 1972, when Algiers became “mecca of revolutionaries” and hosted representatives of liberation movements from Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including Eldridge Cleaver’s international section of the Black Panther Party, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress, and the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, led by Amilcar Cabral.
Taking as a starting point this often-forgotten history of post–independence era internationalism, the film Foreign Office invites reflection on history and its transmission and the essential links between emancipation and poetry. The selection of photographs documents the physical places that once hosted liberation movements, revealing a hollow dissipation of utopia that haunts the present. Finally, the archipelagic map of Algiers is based on the geographic distribution of the liberation movements’ headquarters throughout the city—these are translated into island formations whose shapes mirror the architectural structure of each organization’s headquarters.
Bouchra Khalili is a Moroccan-French artist and the 2017–2018 David and Roberta Longie Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute. She lives and works in Berlin and Oslo and is shortlisted for the Guggenheim’s Hugo Boss Prize 2018 and for Artes Mundi 8. Working with film, video, installation, photography, and prints, Khaliliʼs practice articulates language, subjectivity, orality, and geographical explorations. With her work, Khalili investigates strategies and discourses of resistance as elaborated, developed, and narrated by individuals—often members of political minorities. During her fellowship, Khalili is dedicating herself to Twenty-Two Hours, a video installation focused on the relationship between author and character (and the politics therein).