Bruce Barber

Spectres of Marx (2015)

10 min 26 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Silent

The title of this work alludes to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' statement at the beginning of The Communist Manifesto (1848) that “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

“My preliminary drawing… is a tracing of the reflection/projection of the iconic figures of revolutionary Marxism (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao) followed by black on white painting/tracing over the trace, followed by a sanding of the surface to remove slight protuberances and finally an over painting/erasure, white on white perhaps ‘white washing’—that nevertheless leaves the spectral forces somewhat evident and intact—with the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci added, that to my mind continues the deconstructive process of “haunting”  that Derrida perceived to be a necessity or a critically engaged and radical project of reinvention”.

- Bruce Barber

As well as acknowledging the lasting impact of radical historical figures, Barber's work looks forward to new possibilities. He acknowledges a key paragraph in Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International (1933);

"...The name of New International is given here to what calls to the friendship of an alliance without institution among those who... continue to be inspired by at least one of the spirits of Marx or of Marxism. It is a call for them to ally themselves, in a new, concrete and real way, even if this alliance no longer takes the form of a party or a workers’ international, in the critique of the state of international law, the concepts of State and nation, and so forth: in order to renew this critique, and especially to radicalize it." — Jacques Derrida

Other works by Bruce Barber

CIRCUIT is the
leading voice
for artist moving image
in Aotearoa New Zealand,
distributing works,
critical review and
which reflect our unique, contemporary
South Pacific context.