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The history of the transatlantic slave trade has a particular chronology and geography, to say nothing of its critical racial dimensions. Though these elements of its history seem to impose certain natural limits on thinking about slavery, the boundaries only hold superficially. When one begins to look closely at the history and legacy of the institution of slavery, it becomes clear that its story is far too expansive to be limited in these ways. The three pieces that receive critical attention here all do the work of reexamining these boundaries. The viewer is challenged to think about the Middle Passage and slavery in a new, more expansive way. Each of these provocative works warrants individual attention, but the capstone of the exhibit is the comparative reflection that comes at the end. At every step along the way, the reader and viewer is encouraged to imagine different interpretive possibilities, even those askew of the arguments laid out here. Thus the final comparative section, which seeks not to have the final word on the meaning of the works of art, but rather to leave the project open ended. The hope is that making the viewer part of the interpretive process in this way ensures a reexamination of the boundaries of the slave trade, even if the individual pieces resonated differently for the reader than they do for the author. In other words, so long as the works of art engage the viewer and inspire this sort of reflection, the project will be a success, whether or not the accompanying arguments ultimately stand up to critical attention.
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How to cite this page: Davide Carozza, ““Levitate,” “Windward Coast” and “Vicissitudes”: Curatorial Statement,” Deeps, The Black Atlantic, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/blackatlantic/ (accessed on (date)).