Postcards of nineteenth-century Caribbean geographies and subjugated peoples comprise a medium of domination through which colonial figures constructed themselves in relation to the exotic. The materiality of existing colonial postcards, in physical and digital form, renders a diffuse archive of myriad traces. Affective messages to far-off recipients scribbled on the literal and figurative backs of imaged colonial subjects act as projections of power; imagery of colonial public scenes evince racialized geographies. Nevertheless, images of Afro-descendant people captured in colonial frames attest to their daily lives on Caribbean shores, casting attention to overlooked histories. The Postcard Series: Rescripting Visual Codes is an open-ended multimodal exploration that grapples with different modes of reclaiming historical Black presences with photography, specifically in the Atlantic port city of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.1 Moving through methods of pairing, overlaying, cutting, and recreating historical images speaks to the challenges faced in reconstructing histories from archives and physical landscapes while brushing against the grain of enduring colonial optics.
1. An earlier version of this work was originally published at Absinthe: World Literature in Translation.