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Words Against Photographs: Teju Cole in Conversation

Friday, May 01, 2015
Beatrice Theatre
7:00 pm

MFA Art Criticism and Writing presents novelist, photographer and critic Teju Cole and writer Emmanuel Iduma in conversation with department chair David Levi Strauss.
This wide-ranging discussion, among three generations of writers, will focus on the curious and conflicted relation between words and photographs. Topics include Cole’s attraction to pairing images with words in his novel Every Day Is For the Thief (Random House, 2014), on Twitter and in his new role as the photography critic for the New York Times Magazine; David Levi Strauss’s new book, Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images Tomorrow: Essays on the Present and Future of Photography(Aperture, 2014); and the larger questions about how photographic images are operating today, online and in print.
This event is free & open to the public — no RSVP is required.
Teju Cole is the author of two works of fiction that radically expand our understanding of diaspora and dislocation in the twenty-first century. Cole was born in the US to Nigerian parents, raised in Lagos, and currently resides in New York City, which serves as both setting and subject of Open City (Random House, 2011). The novel, which documents the roaming thoughts and encounters of a Nigerian-German psychiatrist, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and earned Cole a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and frequent comparisons to W.G. Sebald. In Every Day Is for the Thief, published in 2007 in Nigeria and in 2014 in the US, a dual American and Nigerian citizen travels from his home in New York to Lagos and finds himself a stranger. Every Day features original photographs by the author, and was named a Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Telegraph, the Globe and Mail, and NPR. Cole is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College, photography critic of the New York Times Magazine, and is currently at work on a nonfiction book about contemporary Lagos.
Emmanuel Iduma is the author of the novel Farad (Parresia, 2012), and the co-editor of Gambit: Newer African Writing (The Mantle, 2014). He has worked as director and co-publisher of Saraba Magazine, and with Invisible Borders, a group of traveling photographers and writers that will be included in the 2015 Venice Biennale. He is currently an MFA Art Criticism and Writing student.
David Levi Strauss is the author of Words Not Spent Today Buy Smaller Images TomorrowFrom Head to Hand: Art and the Manual (Oxford University Press, 2010), Between the Eyes: Essays on Photography and Politics, with an introduction by John Berger (Aperture 2003, and in a new edition, 2012), and Between Dog & Wolf: Essays on Art and Politics(Autonomedia 1999, and a new edition with a prolegomenon by Hakim Bey, 2010). Strauss was a Guggenheim fellow in 2003 and received the Infinity Award for Writing from the International Center of Photography in 2007.