• In this Session

    Session #2: Silhouettes

    Welcome to session #2 of the online space Migratory Times, “Silhouettes.” 

    Silhouettes are made by amateurs, artists, alike, and even cast as a shadow in the everyday. A silhouette is a shadow, profile, miniature cuttings, shadow portrait, illuminating a relationship between light and dark. Utilized by artists and activists alike, the mobilization of the silhouette in the visual has, as described by Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, the capability to image race and “otherness.” Some silhouettes are iconic – where the relationship between the light and dark have captured local and global imaginaries. Kara Walker’s paper silhouettes tell a story of the US south as one shaped by violence, both sexual and racial. The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, an association formed in the 1970s, drew awareness to the disappearances occurring during the Argentinian dictatorship (1976 – 1983). Through shadows, the place with light and dark, outlines, silhouettes speak. As this session illuminates, silhouettes manifest in intentional and unintentional actions by artists, community members, scholars, and producers. The image that is created through the interplay and production of light and dark, speaks to coloniality and oppression. As described by Maria Lugones, “Given the coloniality of power, I think we can also say that having a dark and a light side is characteristic of the co-construction of the coloniality of power and the colonial/modern gender system” (2007).

    This session includes events that occurred since 2017. It includes a Salon of the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects with Pedro Pablo Gomez, that occurred in March 2017 – transcripts and audio of the salon are featured. This session also features pedagogical conversation, a Salon with the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects – Silhouettes: Migration, (Un)Documented, and Pedagogies, where IiS members Fukushima and Benfield facilitated discussions surrounding the work of Sonia Guiñansaca and artist and muralist Ruby Chacón, and invited Crystal Baik, Jose Manuel Cortez, Cindy Cruz, Marie Sarita Gaytan and Juan Herrera. Silhouettes include the contributions of the artist Kakyoung Lee and her work from the “Barbed Wire Series” which consists of a series of prints, multi-channel moving-image installation, and a cat’s cradle shadow installation. Stills from Kiri Dalena’s Arrays of Evidence Installation, are showcased, in which this project was also contributor to the Migratory Times Project. Also included are images and the video, “Christmas in our Hearts” by RESBAK (RESpond and Break the silence Against the Killings), a collective of artists, media practitioners, and cultural workers that unite to condemn in the strongest possible terms the Duterte regime’s brutal war on drugs.   In the Spirit of Itzpaplotl, Venceremos, introduces a feminist collaboration between artist and painter, Ruby Chacón, photographs by Flor Olivo, and feminist scholarly research by Dr. Sonya Alemán. Additionally, featured video and images produced through “Women in Migration” (2017) which consisted of a collaboration between the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects (IiS) with the University of Utah Museum of Fine Arts A.C.M.E. session featuring IiS members Dalida Maria Benfield, Damali Abrams, and Annie Isabel Fukushima, and collaborations with UMFA Jorge Rojas and Emily Izzo and Utah community members Romeo Jackson, Maria, Yehemy, Veronica, Alejandra, Ashley, Jean, Alex, Akiva, Kylee, Andrew, and Christina.  Therefore, Silhouettes is an invitation to scholars, artists, visual producers, the everyday person, to submit works that speak to the coloniality and oppression through the silhouette.


  • Contributors
  • Calendar

Posted on

"Student Life: Still We Rise"

Ruby Chacon

Posted on

Cats Cradle

Kakyoung Lee

Posted on

Damali Abrams

Posted on

Always a River

Women in Migration, UMFA A.C.M.E. & IiS

Mobility & Temporality During Covid-19
A Migratory Times Salon, May 4, 2020.
The Pandemic is a Portal
An online teach-in with Arundhati Roy. Haymarket Books is an independent, radical, non-profit publisher. Every dollar we take in from book sales and donations goes directly to support our project of publishing books for changing the world—a project has never been more necessary or more urgent. We need your help to continue to do the work. While all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation in support of our continuing to do this work. http://www.haymarketbooks.org

La expresión “estamos viviendo un momento interesante” nunca fue más cierta que ahora. Desde que la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) declaró una pandemia global por el nuevo coronavirus, llamado Covid-19, la mayoría de los medios de comunicación e internet desbordan información y desinformación sobre el virus, la forma de contraerlo, la forma de contagio y la mejor manera de protegernos a nosotros/as mismos/as y nuestros seres queridos. Yo también me siento perdida en múltiples laberintos de información y actualización sobre el virus, y me inquietan mis seres queridos, amigos/as y compañeros/as de trabajo del mundo entero. En estos tiempos de cuarentena y aislamiento tanto recomendados y decretados, como autoimpuestos, internet y otras tecnologías de comunicación se han convertido en un salvavidas para mucha gente.

The saying “we live in interesting times” has never been more true than it is now. With the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, a global pandemic, most news outlets and the internet are flooded with both information and misinformation about the virus, how it’s contracted, how it’s spread and how people can protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting it. I too find myself lost in various wormholes of information and updates about the virus, as I worry about my loved ones, friends and workmates scattered across the world. In this time of self and enforced quarantine and isolation, the internet and other communication technologies have become a lifeline for many people.

Corona Song by Isa Massu
By Isa Massu
Destiny’s Home: Part 2: The House
Destiny’s Home: Staying Planted
Salon with the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects – Silhouettes: Migration, (Un)Documented, and Pedagogies – Part 1
A conversation regarding pedagogies, documentation and migration. Featured: Listening to Sonia Guiñansaca “Bursting of photographs after trying to squeeze out old memories” and work by Ruby Chacon. Contributors: Crystal Baik, Dalida Maria Benfield, Jose Manuel Cortez, Cindy Cruz, Annie Isabel Fukushima, Sarita Gaytan, and Juan Herrera. October 17, 2017.
Salon with the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects – Silhouettes: Migration, (Un)Documented, and Pedagogies – Part 2
Salon with the Institute of (Im)Possible Subjects – Silhouettes: Migration, (Un)Documented, and Pedagogies This video is a continuation from the video: https://youtu.be/X0Vz13tRHAY A discussion ensues regarding the work of Ruby Chacon.
Christmas in our hearts by RESBAK
"Christmas In Our Hearts (Reloaded)" takes after a song by the same title by Jose Mari Chan -- one of the most enduring original Filipino music compositions about the Christmas season in the Philippines. The collaborators who worked on the video, however, in no way intend to demean or disparage the song but hope to connect it to the spirit of the birth of Christ which is to bring hope to the suffering Filipino masses. This video is the first of many works that artists of RESBAK (Respond and Break the Silence Against the Killings) plan to produce in the campaign against the killings.