The act of bearing witness can reveal much, but what about the figure of the witness itself? As contemporary culture is increasingly dominated by surveillance, the witness-whether artist, historian, scientist, government official, or ordinary citizen-has become empowered in realms from art to politics. In Seeing Witness, Jane Blocker challenges the implicit authority of witnessing through the examination of a series of contemporary artworks, all of which make the act of witnessing visible, open to inspection and critique.
Jane Blocker is associate professor of art history at the University of Minnesota Press and the author of What the Body Cost: Desire, History, and Performance (Minnesota, 2004) and Where is Ana Mendieta? Identity, Performativity and Exile.