[-empyre-] Welcome to the -empyre- April 2016 Discussion: Liquid Blackness: Formal Approaches to Blackness and/as Aesthetics

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Mon Apr 4 23:28:39 AEST 2016

Hi Jenny, I have one question. As I understand it, the causal link you are
making between the appearance of the Time cover and O.J. Simpson hiring
Johnny Cochran as his lawyer, is this a link that O.J. Simpson or someone
close to him made or is it your observation?


On Sun, Apr 3, 2016 at 4:31 PM, Jenny Gunn <jgunn7 at mygsu.onmicrosoft.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thank you to Alessandra for inviting me to participate in this week’s
> discussion. One of the initial questions I had in becoming involved with
> liquid blackness was how will I know it when I see it? But you don’t have
> to find liquid blackness, it finds you. Or, in other words, once you know
> it, you will inevitably see it. This happened recently while watching an
> early episode of The People vs. O.J. Simpson. This episode dealt with the
> publication of the “American Tragedy” Time magazine cover that infamously
> saturated the blackness of O.J. Simpson’s mug shot. As Alessandra states,
> liquid blackness considers “the increased detachability of blackness in
> contemporary culture and its ability to circulate apart from black people,
> often at their expense.” While this episode of The People vs. O.J. Simpson
> clearly indicates the detachability of blackness, in this case, blackness
> seems rather to attach to O.J. and at his expense. The early episodes of
> the series ruminate on O.J.’s arrest and his realization (and also Marcia
> Clark’s) of the impossibility of transcending race: despite O.J.’s success,
> his Brentwood address, his golfing buddies, when he is charged with murder,
> his blackness finds him again, and this is stunningly figured in O.J.’s
> confrontation with the Time magazine cover. It is in this moment that for
> the first time he realizes the gravity of his plight and his disadvantage
> in the legal system as a black male. Up until this point, O.J. had avoided
> engaging with race in planning his legal defense, but shortly after the
> publication of the Time magazine cover, O.J.’s defense team hires Johnny
> Cochran. This is but one example of liquid blackness, which plays out in
> many contexts, forms, and with a range of affective tonalities, that
> illustrates the value in thinking blackness as liquidity.
> Jenny Gunn
> PhD Student, Moving Image Studies
> Department of Communication
> Georgia State University
> jgunn7 at gsu.edu
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au <
> empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> on behalf of Alessandra
> Raengo <araengo at gsu.edu>
> Sent: Sunday, April 3, 2016 4:12 PM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Welcome to the -empyre- April 2016 Discussion:
> Liquid Blackness: Formal Approaches to Blackness and/as Aesthetics
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I want to thank Chip for sharing the way the concept of “liquid blackness”
> has shaped his work on Miles Davis.
> Before I comment on the way the formal/aesthetic concept of “liquid
> blackness” and the methodology for formal and material reading it entails
> has led Chip Linscott to articulate his work on Miles Davis the way he
> does, I need to first mention that “liquid blackness”  describes also a
> research group I coordinate at Georgia State University.  In this instance,
> however, “liquid blackness” is spelled in italics and lower case, which is
> the same way we spell the title of the online publication associated with
> the work of the group.
> The mode of research and the possibilities of “liquid blackness” as a
> concept are deeply intertwined.
> The research group began very informally around the hosting of a film
> series (together with Emory’s Department of Film and Media Studies) in the
> fall 2013: the "L.A. Rebellion: Creating  a New Black American Cinema,"
> which showcased films made at UCLA by students of color in the mid
> seventies to the early nineties.
> Since then, the group has hosted other film series, including the Black
> Audio Film Collective, from the UK (in the Fall 2014), and a year-long
> research project on Larry Clark’s Passing Through (1977), an experimental
> jazz film that to this day is considered the most successful attempt to
> transpose the improvisational form of free jazz to the cinema. We are now
> pursuing a research project on “Black Ontology and the Love of Blackness”
> which was inspired by Arthur Jafa’s film Dreams are Colder than Death.
> I mention this to highlight an important element: which is the fact that
> every project we undertake has two characteristics. First, it faces 3 ways:
> it faces the scholarly community, the artistic community, and the
> curatorial community. Second, it has 3 components: it always entails an
> event (or series of events), a research project, and a publication, as a
> way to open the research up to a larger conversation.
> Because of the mostly “informal” way this has occurred, we have found that
> Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s concept of “study" (as developed in The
> Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study,) as a way of thinking
> together inspired by the dynamics of the jazz ensemble, possesses the
> characteristics of liquidity that well describe the way we also carry out
> our projects.
> It is in this spirit that people like Chip Linscott, Jenny Gunn, Lauren
> Cramer, and Cameron Kunzelman will contribute to this conversation, since
> they have worked with us in various capacities and have experienced this
> multi-layered and flexible mode of thinking and doing.
> In my future comments I will seek to highlight also the important
> contributions of other members or collaborators
> > On Apr 3, 2016, at 8:57 AM, Linscott, Charles <linscoc2 at ohio.edu> wrote:
> >
> > ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> > Shhh: On the Blackness of Miles Davis’ Voice
> >
> > Charles P. (“Chip”) Linscott
> >
> >
> >
> > The core themes of "liquid blackness" find expression in much of my
> work, but a signal example is my writing on Miles Davis. While racist
> visuality transforms a subject into an object, barring subjectivization
> through an objectifying visual classificatory system, I argue that Miles’
> musical, sonic, performative, and visual techniques form a network of
> interventions through which Blackness can be rethought. By beginning with a
> post-beating photographic image, I initiate an extended encounter with
> numerous instantiations of the “voice” of Miles Davis. At turns abstract
> and concrete, this voice comes from the figure of Miles—a constellation of
> acts, processes, performances, and events, but also a body and a
> subjectivity. This voice intones what Fred Moten calls “the resistance of
> the object,” which is the radical subjective refusal of Black fungibility
> and the objectifying processes of racialization. This resistance comes in
> many forms, but a signal component is “talking B(l)ack”: performing and not
> performing, speaking and not speaking, sounding at will but not on command,
> all of which are of a piece with Miles’ celebrated use of silence and noise
> in his music. Paradoxically, Black people in America are compelled to both
> speak and not speak, to sound and not sound, to be and not be. Talking
> B(l)ack is thus a form of self-possessive voice that resists possession by
> the phantasmatic body of the scopic. Davis’ voice encompasses a complex of
> processes through which he and other Black subjects might speak, sing, or
> cry out in resistance to the visual hegemony of Whiteness. In pushing at
> the edges of the synaesthetic, Blackness hinges, swinging, never settling,
> between the poles of vision and hearing. Somewhere between the conceptual
> and the material, the shadow of instantiation falls across the body. In
> that liminality, rather than strict ocularcentrism or phonocentrism, is a
> lurch toward the parataxic, a tenuous eddying relationship between hearing
> and seeing. It is a break; sound cutting through image, vision percussively
> sounding on the body. Thus, the conceptual-material hierarchy of
> epidermalization is persistently challenged by Black political and cultural
> practices such as those enacted by Miles Davis.
> >
> > Many thanks to Alessandra and the rest of the liquid blackness crew for
> everything, as always.
> > CPL
> >
> >> On Apr 3, 2016, at 2:08 AM, Alessandra Raengo <araengo at gsu.edu> wrote:
> >>
> >> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> >> I want to thank Derek Murray for this invitation to moderate this
> month’s discussion on the critical possibilities of the concept of “liquid
> blackness.”
> >>
> >>
> >> “liquid blackness” is a concept I have been using to describe a
> particular critical attitude towards the way in which blackness is often
> encountered in contemporary visual and sonic culture, i.e. in “liquid,”
> immersive form. It is designed to act as a deliberate pressure point in
> order to think of blackness as something that is both “common place”
> (because it is constantly encountered in everyday mediated and unmediated
> interactions) and “commonsensical” (because produced or conjured up through
> the cooperation of everybody’s sensorium). Thus, “liquid blackness”
> understands blackness as a way to organize the human sensorium according to
> elaborate, flexible, and outrageously erratic sets of articulations that
> constantly draw and redraw what we would call the “color line.” Building on
> Mark Smith’s argument about how race is sensorially made, how sensorial
> experience is historically specific and how the sensorial construction of
> race is deployed in order for race to make sense, “liquid blackness”
> expresses an option for a formal and aesthetic approach to blackness, where
> “aesthetic” encompasses the sensible, the sensorial, and the sensate and
> the interactions between them. “Liquid blackness” claims this fluid
> sensorial terrain as its object of focus.
> >>
> >> “liquid blackness” makes an option also for materiality and spatiality.
> In order to think about “liquid blackness,” one has to think of blackness
> as a type of “thing” (or a substance, or a type of matter) that fills the
> space “in-between” people and things. In other words, “liquid blackness”
> takes seriously Harry Elam’s observation of the increased detachability of
> blackness in contemporary culture and its ability to circulate apart from
> black people, often at their expense, and seeks a way to attend to this
> process, including its frequent erotic charge. In this sense, liquid
> blackness can be seen as the aesthetic production of black fungibility.
> >>
> >> Finally, “liquid blackness” is also a way to think about the expansive
> possibilities of blackness and black cultural expressions—especially when
> blackness is let free to explore its own genius and its own possibilities.
> Here, liquidity can encourage a mercurial imagination of infinite
> potentialities.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>> On Apr 1, 2016, at 9:43 PM, Derek Murray <
> derekconradmurray6719 at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> >>> Welcome to our April discussion on -empyre- soft-skinned space, Liquid
> Blackness: Formal Approaches to Blackness and/as Aesthetics.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> The moderator of this month’s discussion will be Alessandra Raengo
> (United States). We are thrilled that Alessandra Raengo’s exciting and
> timely research on race, aesthetics, and form has been the catalyst for
> this month’s topic, which highlights conceptual issues around the
> materiality of blackness as it expresses itself across various forms of
> cultural production, including: visual art, cinema, music, and photography.
> Thanks to you, Alessandra, and each of your guests for joining us this
> month.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> Moderator Bio:
> >>>
> >>> Alessandra Raengo is Associate Professor of Moving Image Studies in
> the Department of Communication at Georgia State University and coordinator
> of liquid blackness, a research project on blackness and aesthetics. Her
> work focuses on blackness in the visual and aesthetic field and her essays
> on contemporary African-American art, black cinema and visual culture, and
> race and capital have appeared in Camera Obscura, Adaptation, The World
> Picture Journal, Discourse (forthcoming) and several anthologies. She is
> the author of On the Sleeve of the Visual: Race as Face Value (Dartmouth
> College Press, 2013) and of Critical Race Theory and Bamboozled (Bloomsbury
> Press, 2016). With Robert Stam, she has also co-edited two anthologies on
> adaptation studies, Literature and Film and A Companion to Literature and
> Film (Blackwell, 2004 and 2005).
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> We turn the discussion over to you now, Alessandra, to further
> introduce us to your topic, your exciting research on Liquid Blackness, and
> to share the bios of those guests who will be participating in the
> conversation this month.
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> All best,
> >>>
> >>> Derek Conrad Murray
> >>>
> >>> Soraya Murray
> >>>
> >>> Co-Moderators, -empyre-
> >>>
> >>> _______________________________________________
> >>> empyre forum
> >>> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> >>>
> https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3a%2f%2fempyre.library.cornell.edu&data=01%7c01%7caraengo%40gsu.edu%7c4c5e8a1dd9d84b218b0b08d35a9a7c94%7c515ad73d8d5e4169895c9789dc742a70%7c0&sdata=Fd%2fg68nrRFdLdV3natEdcyHKccaVuAv0XjiAC%2fE4uLA%3d
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> empyre forum
> >> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> >>
> https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3a%2f%2fempyre.library.cornell.edu&data=01%7c01%7caraengo%40gsu.edu%7cd7d8ff133c2f4fff2f1c08d35bbf9637%7c515ad73d8d5e4169895c9789dc742a70%7c0&sdata=aXGc6xhWDibOLVfHlzjGLyVz86Alz7p67lcmFqyMfzA%3d
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> >
> https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3a%2f%2fempyre.library.cornell.edu&data=01%7c01%7caraengo%40gsu.edu%7cd7d8ff133c2f4fff2f1c08d35bbf9637%7c515ad73d8d5e4169895c9789dc742a70%7c0&sdata=aXGc6xhWDibOLVfHlzjGLyVz86Alz7p67lcmFqyMfzA%3d
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3a%2f%2fempyre.library.cornell.edu&data=01%7c01%7cjgunn7%40mygsu.onmicrosoft.com%7ce2f405c990084185459b08d35bfc4d48%7c515ad73d8d5e4169895c9789dc742a70%7c0&sdata=Qu9ByFb5AAcDNlFwJWKb0%2fI8U1Ceyt2t8BwRv01gquM%3d
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/attachments/20160404/3ae4711b/attachment.html>

More information about the empyre mailing list