Digital Wondering 05
Digital Wonderings are a series of online speculations around the curatorial theme of TRUST. They can take any form, from a conversation, a short statement, a film or a photographic series. Invited contributors come from a wide range of disciplines and can respond and react to the theme and the format as they wish.
On violence and trust, by Bangladeshi photographer Salma Abedin Prithi.
Renowned German writer and thinker Jan Phillpp Reemtsma argues in his book ‘Trust and Violence’ (2008) that discussions of violence either mystify or pathologize it. Instead of doing either of these things, Reemtsmaa argues that violence cannot be comprehended without understanding the concept of trust, and the peculiar relationship between the two. He gives the simple example of noting that even dictators must trust in others while, by means other than violence, they must convince others to trust them. The history of violence, he states, is therefore a history of the peculiar relationship between violence and trust.
As Prithi writes in her statement:
Mundane is a combination of texts, found images and tableau photographs dealing with recent social violence of Bangladesh. The work developed as protest – a protest against our desensitized memories to violence.
I was born and raised in Bangladesh and my country is passing through a difficult time with extortion on freedom of expression and sovereignty. The threat of murder, rape, extra-judicial killing, ethnic tortures and child abuse are taking place almost every day. I am also losing my friends, neighbours and colleagues who played crucial roles on cultural and political movements, blogging and activism, and feminist movements. My friend Xulhaz, a LGBT activist, was hacked to death inside his own house where we had eaten dinner only few months previously. These continual violent events are becoming mundane in our daily life, causing ennui when published in newspapers or social media.
My photographic series is a testament of those violent moments. Taken in a space slightly before or after the moment, I attempt to show how body and mind might react to such moments.
You can find the rest of the statement and full series here.
Salma Abedin Prithi’s photographs explore the vulnerability and psychological struggle of ordinary people. After her graduation in photography at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Prithi started making portraits of ordinary people with performative gestures in her pop-up studio at home. Her work, Mundane, is a combination of tableau-vivant and archival footages of newspapers exploring domestic violence in Bangladesh. She was the recipient of the Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice fellowship in 2019 and attended World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass in 2020.