Ghosts and Hauntings of Western Imperialism The Art of Michael Rakowitz
Bailey, James Austin
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This thesis analyzes the art of Michael Rakowitz, contextualizing it within an array of subjects including but not limited to: Western Imperialism, immigrant communities, social sculpture, museum history, and collective memory. More specifically, it argues that his culinary projects (Enemy Kitchen, RETURN) and reimagining of destroyed cultural artifacts (The invisible enemy should not exist, May the arrogant not prevail) stage a theater in which they act as conduits of abject remembrance. These “ghosts”, as Rakowitz calls them, evoke notions of otherness, absence, and displacement in order to “haunt” those that have participated in the creation and destruction of countries in the Middle East.