The racist term "play-white" comes from the apartheid era, when it connoted a black or "mixed race" person who lived as a white person: “So and so is a play-white.” South African artist Bianca Baldi draws from studies of biomimicry and her own family history, as well as literary precedents—such as Nella Larsen’s novel Passing (1929)—to reflect on racial passing and the instability of racial identities. Play-White alternates between layers of visualization and moments of discretion in order to explore questions of presence and evasion beyond their representation in black and white.
Bianca Baldi, Play-White. With contributions by Bianca Baldi, Mika Conradie, Shoniqua Roach, and Amy Watson. Design by K. Verlag in collaboration with Katharina Tauer & Wolfgang Hückel.
14 × 21 cm
50 b/w & full-color images
Softcover, thread-sewn with metallic dust jacket
The publication is produced in conjunction with Baldi’s exhibition Cameo at Grazer Kunstverein, with additional support from the Hessische Kulturstiftung and Flanders State of the Art. It is also part of The Astronaut Metaphor (2020–22), an evolving program on politics, aesthetics, and the human at Netwerk Aalst.
Published in August 2021