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April 2014, Week 2


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Katharine Persephone Zakos <[log in to unmask]>
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 22:22:23 +0000
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liquid blackness Publication Announcement

liquid blackness is proud to announce the release of our second publication, the first of two issues dedicated to the 2014 liquid blackness Symposium, which begins tomorrow, April 11, on blackness, aesthetics, liquidity.  The publication can be viewed on our website,<>, or downloaded here<>.  Additional information on the Symposium is included below.

liquid blackness April Symposium (April 11-12, 2014)
liquid blackness, a Research Project on Blackness and Aesthetics of the Department of Communication at Georgia State University, is pleased to announce a Symposium on blackness and aesthetics to be hosted by the Department of Communication on April 11-12, 2014, with the participation of Hamza Walker (Associate Curator, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago), Derek Conrad Murray (Assistant Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture at UC Santa Cruz), and a panel of multimedia artists.
The purpose of the Symposium, which will bring together scholars, artists and curators, is to begin a conversation about liquidity as a primary aesthetic form in which blackness is encountered in our contemporary visual and sonic landscape. This event is free and open to the public.

The schedule for the Symposium is as follows:

Friday, April 11:  Department of Communication, Georgia State University

*         6:00pm- Lecture by Hamza Walker<>, Associate Curator, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago

*         *7:30pm- Wine Reception at Mammal Gallery<> with dance performances and video projection by Gathering Wild Dance Company<>, T.Lang Dance<>, and bubba carr<> (this event will take place off-campus)

Saturday, April 12:  Department of Communication, Georgia State University

*         3:00pm-Keynote by Derek Conrad Murray<>, Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz

*         4:30pm-Artists Panel:  Nettrice Gaskins<>; Nikita Gale<>; Carla Aaron Lopez<>; Yanique Norman<>; Fahamu Pecou<>

*         *7:00pm-Release Party at The Sound Table<> with DJ Kemit<> (this event will take place off-campus; we will be celebrating the release of our latest publication, "blackness, aesthetics, liquidity"<>)

Additionally, throughout the month of April several artists will be showing their work at the Window Project<>, the new media installation space curated by GSU's Digital Arts Entertainment Lab.  The featured artists will include Consuela Boyer<>, Chr!s Ferguson<>, Joey Molina<>, and Fahamu Pecou<>.
Please feel free to circulate this announcement widely and to direct all questions to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]> or to our Coordinator, Dr. Alessandra Raengo, at [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>.  Additional information on the liquid blackness initiative is below, including links to our website and social media.<>
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

What is liquid blackness?
The idea of the liquidity of blackness emerges both from an observation of salient contemporary aesthetic forms as well as a sort of thought experiment. If, as Harry Elam has argued, blackness does indeed 'travel on its own,' then what aesthetic arrangements have become possible as a result of that?
What happens if we leverage, rather than condemn, this type of mobility? What happens when blackness is deliberately held in suspension, by the critical act one might perform in attempting to understand its contours? What if we could think of it, not as an attribute, but rather in its own terms, like a thing, like a substance, a shadow that "escapes from the body like an animal we had been sheltering"[i]? What if we held blackness in balance, so to speak, not necessarily to sever it from its lived experience, but in order to confront and come to terms with the many other ways in which it exists?

If blackness is placed firmly in the middle, held at the center of our conversations, affective investments, aesthetic concerns, if it is therefore made accessible, discussable, touchable, usable, re-purposable, then the focus might shift to new considerations: not what it represents, but what it does and can do, to its affective charge, and its sensorial reach; to the relations it facilitates, the fantasies it coagulates, and the sensible and sensorial configurations it orchestrates. One would therefore not be seeking a black aesthetic but rather to understand blackness as aesthetics.

Thus, as a research group, liquid blackness privileges the aesthetic mode of liquidity because it offers a provocative and generative characterization of one of the most mercurial, yet vigorous modes of interfacing blackness in contemporary visual and sonic culture, as well as the affects and intensities that this mode of engagement produces and circulates.

Liquidity is also meant to describe the fluid relationship between creative, critical and curatorial practices, as well as a bleeding between artistic community and academic community this research project is committed to pursue.

Finally, liquidity intends to convey the desired adaptability of liquid blackness as a research group and platform for scholarly and artistic work, which will hopefully grow in pursuit of its research questions, spilling into those spaces where critical and creative thinking grapples with ideas of what indeed lies between us all, with the conviction that, given its enormous role in filling this in-between, there is no question about blackness that is not worth asking.

Below, we have listed some conceptual clusters that the idea of liquidity of blackness is intended to render. They are meant to perform evocatively in the hope that they will trigger both the critical and artistic imagination of the Symposium's participants as well as the larger Atlanta artistic community.
*         Sensuousness - liquid blackness is sensorially rich and erotically charged
*         Affectivity - liquid blackness exists and moves in between bodies
*         Formlessness - liquid blackness fills all available space and fluidly transforms with the shape of its container.
*         Penetration - in its shape-shifting qualities, liquid blackness is capable of infiltrating anywhere.
*         Fluctuation - liquid blackness moves through ripples and waves, like electronic signals
*         Modulation - liquid blackness oscillates and vibrates within a spectrum of possibilities
*         Absorption and assimilation - liquid blackness manifests fantasies of racial amalgamation
*         Intensity - liquid blackness channels "intensive affective flows"[ii]
*         Viscosity - liquid blackness produces fantasies of tactility and experiences of stickiness
*         Density - liquid blackness is tangibly material and thick
*         Slipperiness: liquid blackness can be seemingly touched, but not held, or held in place
*         Elasticity - liquid blackness can stretch, bleed, and slightly give in
*         Allure - liquid blackness beckons and yet withdraws
*         Vibration - liquid blackness is animated by the vitality of black matter
*         Unboundedness - liquid blackness is unstoppable and pervasive
*         Virality - liquid blackness proliferates and procreates, gaining incremental vitality with each reproduction.
*         Channeling - liquid blackness is a channel, a vehicle, a medium - it carries, funnels, and puts in contact
*         Plasticity - liquid blackness mutates within constantly mutating conditions
*         Organicity - liquid blackness wades fluidly through processes of appropriation, sampling, grafting, injecting, rejecting, implanting, and transplanting.
*         Glide - liquid blackness slides transversally across and between surfaces

We hope that you will be able to join us for the Symposium!

[i] Gilles Deleuze, Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation  (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), 20.
[ii] Steven Shaviro, "Post-Cinematic Affect: On Grace Jones, Boarding Gate and Southland Tales.," Film-Philosophy 14, no. 1 (2010).

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