Video still Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay
Gibca 2021 Världskulturmuseet, Photo: Hendrik Zeitler

Un-Documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder

Video with sound  

34 min 58 sec 
Music and voice by Edoheart,Awori & Moor Mother 
Courtesy the artist

Azoulay’s film proposes that there is a direct connection between the objects in European museums that were stolen or unfairly acquired under colonial circumstances and the asylum seekers from those same countries trying to enter Europe today. Whereas the objects are meticulously preserved and documented, the people forced to migrate from their looted homelands are referred to as “un-documented” by border control authorities and denied entry. The film proposes that these objects are those people’s documents and argues for their right to be reunited with them.   


Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (b. 1962, Israel) is Professor of Modern Culture and Media in the Department of Comparative Literature at Brown University, a film essayist, and a curator of archives and exhibitions. Her latest books: Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019), Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012), The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008); films: Un-documented: Unlearning Imperial Plunder (2019), Civil Alliances, Palestine, 47-48 (2012); exhibitions: Errata (Tapiès Foundation, 2019, HKW, Berlin, 2020) and Enough! The Natural Violence of New World Order (F/Stop Photography Festival, Leipzig, 2016).


Museum of World Culture