Minor Popular Power: an Investigation Concerning the Collaboration Between Roger Ballen and Popular Hip Hop Artist Die Antwoord Essay
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Minor Popular Power: An investigation concerning the collaboration between Roger Ballen and popular Hip Hop artist Die Antwoord by Carla Espost (04/2012)
“(Cultural studies recognizes) concepts with which to cut into the complexity of the real, in order precisely to reveal and bring to light relationships and structures which cannot be visible to the ‘naïve naked eye’; relations of power and contradiction, of domination and struggle” (Hall 1997:153)
I will refer to have the American/South African artist/photographer Roger Ballen’s photography series from the 1980s on, published in the books Dorps (1986)and Platteland (1994), Outland (2001),Shadow Chamber (2006) and Boarding house (2009). The other hand holds the newly risen, popular South African Hip Hop group Die Antwoord, who consist of the rapper girl Yolandi Visser and boy Ninja, both pseudonyms of which Ninja is the performing name for the actual artist Watkin Tudor Jones. I will hence critically discuss the significance of Ballen’s collaboration with Jones in his photographs that came from him being a reference in their music video for the song I fink Ur Freeky (2012). Ballen pertains an aesthetic signature that is undeniably present. I will highlight the significance of this appropriation and the way that it highlights the hegemonic shifts which becomes visible when such cultural practices are observed by means of a Cultural Studies framework. The images created by Roger Ballen, the artist/photographer (see fig. 1-3) for Die Antwoord, could be described as portraits of white poverty. However the categorization cannot
be so clearly defined.
These images not only contain the ‘stamp’ of Ballen’s
previous works, but leans toward a different kind of popular politics if compared to his solo work. Nevertheless, Ballen continues to work with his signature half grey, dust-ridden, dirt-smeared white