Independence Days Independence Days features more than 60 archival photos from more than 30 archives of the first Independence Day ceremonies of various nations in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. One of the main features of the book is that the photos come primarily from the public archives of the Asian and African countries themselves.
The first day of independence, up until the official ceremony, unfolds as a series of highly codified rituals and elaborate speech acts, enacted in public and elite spaces. The swearing in of the new leaders, the signing of relevant documents, the parade of VIPs, the salute to the stadium, the first speech to the new nation, all supervised and orchestrated by the outgoing colonial power. The photographic material is strikingly similar, despite disparate geographical and temporal origins, as it reveals a political model exported from Europe and in the process of being cloned around the world. The photographic installation appears as a typology, halfway between the grid and the storyboard. Although much research has been done on the colonial and post-colonial eras, this project aims to introduce a third, surprisingly neglected element into the debate – that 24-hour twilight period in between when a territory transforms into a nation-state.
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