Shakespeare is a cultural institution whose racial structures Fred Wilson began mining in his exhibition, Speak of Me as I Am, at the Venice Biennale in 2003. As the quotation from Othello’s concluding speech signals, Wilson initially focused on the play’s black figure. Wilson’s next step, Iago’s Mirror (2009), shifts attention to Othello’s nemesis. The mirror’s silence corresponds to Iago’s refusal to talk announced in his final statement: “From this time forth I never will speak word.” How does Wilson’s mirror speak, and what critical perspective does it imply toward the racial dynamic of Shakespeare’s plot? By using visual art to intervene in a literary classic, Wilson’s work performs an excavation that disrupts the conventional response to Shakespeare’s tragic script and opens up new possibilities for revisionary interpretations capable of transforming our view of the racial drama Othello enacts.

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