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Jan. 29 @ 2PM - Embodiment and Black Aesthetics with Shellen Maisha Greene (UCLA) @ Gem Lab

When: Friday, January 29th @ 2pm

Digital Event! Registration required through Eventbrite, linked here.


In this presentation, I discuss my ongoing project Embodiment and Black Aesthetics, a study of performative acts in black disasporic cultural production that challenge, subvert and expand our understanding of disembodiment. This project is engendered by the increased visibility of black subjects imperiled by state-sanctioned violence, a hypervisibility made possible by now ubiquitous mobile digital technologies and social media. Drawing upon the recent work of Uri McMillan, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson and Tavia N’yongo, the objective of my study is to examine the ways in which black diasporic cultural production contends with the problematic of visibility and embodiment for black subjects. For this presentation, I will focus on the experimental multi-media practice of artists Sondra Perry and Martine Syms. In works such as Resident Evil (2016), IT’S IN THE GAME ’18 (2018) and Graft and Ash for a Three Monitor Workstation (2016), Perry uses digital video, found internet footage, computer desktop screens, and Real Player Motion Tech (a video game technology used to create animation that mimics human body motion) to comment upon the various ways black subjectivity and corporeality are digital mediated, and how the use of digital technologies can enact counter-narratives and critiques of police violence, health precarity, and continued commoditization of black bodies. Similarly, the conceptual practice of Martine Syms, as seen in works such as Incense Sweaters & Ice (2017), Mythiccbeing (2019), and Boon (2019) uses interactive video, installation, augmented reality and facial recognition technologies to examine the digital mediation of racial and gendered identity formation, drawing upon histories of African American migration and black cultural production.

Suggested Texts

Sondra Perry:

Martine Syms:

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