This second edition of White Gaze includes a new introduction by Michelle Dizon and an afterword by Việt Lê.
Dizon’s introductory essay “The Sediment of Whiteness” speaks to the way that National Geographic’s images have functioned and continue to function as an assertion of property and ownership, particularly as issues around appropriation and fair use have surfaced since the book’s first release.
In White Gaze, artist and filmmaker Michelle Dizon works with an archive of National Geographic magazines to explore the mechanics of the “white gaze.” Through a process of poetic subtraction, Dizon works with only the language on the original page to write a decolonial counterpoint to a way of imaging the world centered on the West.
Her images lay the white gaze bare, unearth a genealogy of a racist visuality, and work in the gap between image and text to write against the grain of imperialist narratives.
Artist and writer Việt Lê uses Dizon’s images from White Gaze as a starting point for his poetic exploration of the legacies of war and imperialism. Lê’s text performs a dual work, both contextualizing Dizon’s images in the history of empire and unleashing a rhythmic play with language, both visually and aurally, to cut to the core of how meaning is produced. His text speaks to absence as much as presence with a story of war and empire told in fragments, phrases, words hanging on the page—an index of both the trauma and resistance experienced by those subjected to the violence of empire.