portrait Ferrara

Beatrice Ferrara

Affiliated 14-15

Cultural Studies / Postcolonial Studies / Media Theory

ICI Berlin
Christinenstraße 18-19, Haus 8
D-10119 Berlin


Beatrice Ferrara holds a PhD in Cultural and Postcolonial Studies of the Anglophone World (2011). Her research interests include sonic- and cyber-cultures of the black diaspora; theories of affect and post-representation through images and sounds, especially in relation to race; media theory from a post-colonial perspective; museums and art-working practices in the context of the contemporary global migrations. Since 2012, she has been working as an Appointed Researcher & Project Assistant within the EU Project “MeLa* - European Museums in an age of Migrations” (FP7) at the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” (Italy), where she also taught “Media and Cultural Studies” in 2012-14. She was Visiting Post-graduate Student at Cardiff University (2007) and Doctoral Researcher at Goldsmiths University of London (2009, as the winner of a mobility research bursary within the EU Project “ATACD – A Topological Approach to Cultural Dynamics”, FP6). She is the author of several essays and articles, a translator of cultural theory from English into Italian, the editor of Cultural Memory, Migrating Modernities and Museum Practices (2012) and the co-editor of Postcolonial Matters (forthcoming). Since 2013, she has been serving as Editor for the Critical Contemporary Culture Journal (London School of Economics).   

The Otolith Group: A Post-colonial Poetics of ‘Errancy’

This research stems from my on-going book project on the British post-colonial art collective The Otolith Group, founded in London in 2002, whose work retreats from realistic representation by proposing a novel kind of militant aesthetics, unattached to the traditional modalities of progressive politics. By mobilising the interdisciplinary toolbox of cultural and postcolonial studies and media theory, the project unfolds an inquiry into the conceptual underpinnings animating the Group’s deployment of ‘errors’, i.e. ‘imperfect’ and ‘disorienting’ forms of aesthetic representation – blurred visions, trembling images, failed projects, incomplete narrations, intelligible murmurs, non-teleological temporalities, ghostly apparitions, improbable science-fictional scenarios. The research frames the Group’s aesthetics within two wider scientific debates, both articulating a certain manifestation of critical ‘errancy’ through the deployment of (theoretical and aesthetical) strategies that set the disorienting against the comfortable, the uncanny against the familiar, the unrealistic against the realistic, the haphazard against the organized, fugue against method, withdrawal from teleology against progressive imagination. These are the ongoing discussion around the notion of ‘radical negativity’, and the investigation around the transformations of the documentary genre in the age of global crisis, which manifests itself through a blurring of the lines between facts and fiction. Through an analysis of the different aspects and components of the Group’s artistic corpus, the goal of the project is to inquiry whether, how and to what extent the Group’s poetics of ‘errancy’ engages with such wider debates while simultaneously providing a specific post-colonial take on them.  

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