Book Launch: Ghosts, Spectres, Revenants: Hauntology as a Means to Think and Feel Future

Date: 25 Sep 2020

Time: 18:00 SAST

Place: The Commune, 14 Reserve street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

On the 25th of September, The Commune hosted a virtual book launch of ‘Ghosts, spectres, revenants: Hauntology as a means to think and feel future’, edited by Katharina Fink, Marie-Anne Kohl and Nadine Siegert.

Hauntology, as a theoretical perspective, opens a field to discuss presence and absence, visibility and invisibility. It relates the lingering of presumably ‘failed’ ideas to the concept of ‘ghosts’ and specters as the haunting presence of past or simultaneously present futures. The concept proved particularly fruitful in the context of the discourse on global migration, European border politics and the re-emergences of nationalism and right-wing and straight men politics.

Hauntology in this context enables to see that the so-called crises lie somewhere very different: Not in the movement of people but in the dispensation of wealth and access throughout the world. The present we live is embedded in the presence of ghosts and specters, and the traces of imag-inations of different times and spaces may become visible and doable. Art in its various forms is the integral part of the hauntological discussion. A Stipulating hauntological thinking may help to see, feel and listen to worlds radically different from the “capitalist realism” (M. Fisher, 2009) of the con-temporary.

In celebration of this work, The Commune was honoured to host a discussion between contributors one of the book’s contributors Kitso Lynn Lelliott and decolonial researcher William Mpofu, facilitated by Lweendo Hamukoma.

Lweendo Hamukoma manages The Commune.

Dr William Mpofu is a researcher at the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WICDS) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Mpofu is a founder member of the Africa Decolonial Research Network (ADERN), a free alliance of scholars that research and write on decoloniality as a philosophy of liberation.

Kitso Lynn Lelliott’s practice moves between video installation, film and writing. She is preoccupied with enunciations from spaces beyond epistemic power and the crisis such epistemically disobedient articulations cause to hegemony. Her work interrogates the ‘real’ as it is shaped through contesting epistemologies, their narratives and the form these took over the Atlantic during the formative episode that shaped the modern age. Her work is an enactment of enunciating from elision and between historically subjugated subjectivities, privileging South-South relations in relation to yet imaginatively and epistemologically unmediated by the Global North. In 2017 she was laureate of the Iwalewahaus art award and was a featured guest artist at The Flaherty Seminar 2018. In 2019 Lelliott won the NIHSS award for best visual arts. She was an artists in residence with the Cité internationale des arts in Paris in 2019 and is currently a Mellon artist in residence with the Centre for Humanities Research at the UWC.