Can the world be thought of in terms of sepia and light? This talk will explore the relationship between archaic labour and photography in colonial Ceylon with an emphasis on pearlescence and how this might contribute to phenomenologies of light. The economies of pearls and their relationship with visual representation perhaps can act as an allegory of colonialism pushed to the threshold of governmentality.
Natasha Eaton is currently a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow conducting research on labour and representation in the Indian Ocean. She is the author of Mimesis across Empires (Duke, 2013) and Colour Art and Empire (I.B.Tauris, 2013). She is an editor of the journal Third Text where she runs the online platforms: Artist and Empire, Decolonial Imagination and Decolonising Colour.