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Critical Whiteness Studies, one could say, exist since the first encounter of the european colonizer and the non-european colonized. Turned into an academic discipline only in the mid-90´s, they could be described as the collection of knowledge that NON-WHITES have gained and cultivated about WHITES throughout the centuries.

The innovative aspect of this theory (that is intended to take the next step in analyzing "race" as a social category after the postcolonial studies` attempt) is the shift of perspective it offers to its users: instead of analyzing the construction of the Other (from a WHITE perspective), it analyzes the construction of the Self; i.e. the construction of the one that is actually looking at the Other and by doing so, supposingly producing knowledge about "race" out of a neutral position.

In the aestethical practice of White on White as well as in the theoretical approach of Critical Whiteness Studies, THE WHITE is never THE NEUTRAL; and WHITENESS thus a cultural force that structures everything around us.




In 2009 Malmborg and Schmit launched their first duo work, White on White #1 – the rapyrus. The title refers to the script that was intended to become the script of the evening, consisting of quotes from 17 of their favorite afro-american Hip Hop songs. Malmborg and Schmit´s idea was that these lyrics would offer a subversive strategy to present the Other in the theatre space. Not by including it in an imaginary “we”, but rather to show the conflict between the included and the excluded within the space.

While working with the rapyrus, Malmborg and Schmit found that the subversive potentials of the text were somehow absorbed by the context in which it was supposed to be placed: the context of theatre.

To work with the representation of the Other (in the case of White on White #1: the rap-lyrics) seemed to only result into a symbolic extension of the space.
The dream scenario was of course that the lyrics would not only represent something unknown, exotic, but that their staging would also carry a threat against the entire context, which is necessary to create a radical change.
The result was symbolic in the sense that it was obviously likeable; it would probably even lead to a feeling of catharsis, a feeling of that “we” together had done something good for integrating “the new”.

From there on going deeper into analyzing contemporary stage art and its strategies for participation, Malmborg and Schmit found out that the actual entry of the Other - even beyond representation - was meaningless as long as the institutional premisses remained unchanged.

Facing this dilemma, they would from now on discuss the frame of the actual space and its politics, instead of trying to extend it by symbolic innovation.

In return, this decision led to the basic aesthetical intentions of the whole series:

* Marking Whiteness as the hidden category dominating representation.

* Questioning the notion of the new in arts as a gesture of subtle colonization.

* Using ourselves in the style of a readymade, as the perfect representation of the WHITE perspective.

* Working with the duo as a genre in itself.
 

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