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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Research Article| November 01 2013
Mining Shakespeare: Fred Wilson’s Visual Translations of Othello
Peter Erickson teaches in the theater department at Northwestern University, where he is a member of the graduate faculty in the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama program and has an affiliation in African American studies. His most recent book isCiting Shakespeare: The Reinterpretation of Race in Contemporary Literature and Art (2007).
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Nka (2013) 2013 (33): 8–19.
Peter Erickson; Mining Shakespeare: Fred Wilson’s Visual Translations of Othello. Nka 1 November 2013; 2013 (33): 8–19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-2352875
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