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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In The Refusal of Time (2012), South African artist William Kentridge reveals how the Western time regime is a central tenet of modernity, capitalism, and colonialism. Featuring a remarkable reenactment of the famous serpentine dance of Loïe Fuller, this multimedia installation provides a sharp comment on the Western conception of dance history. In having this iconic dance reenacted by Dada Masilo, a dancer of color, Kentridge questions white supremacy in the history of dance. Moreover, having the film sequence of the dance solo shown backward, the images also dismantle the modernist, chronological conception of time and history. This critical reenactment, like the dancing figures in the closing parade of The Refusal of Time, in fact reveal the modernist desire to reenact history along a chronological timeline. Connecting Kentridge’s The Refusal of Time with Deleuze’s onto-aesthetics, this chapter observes how reenactment can articulate an ontological politics of time and movement.

Keywords: William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, Deleuze, modernity, capitalism, colonialism

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