[-empyre-] melaminality

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Mon Apr 18 07:51:32 AEST 2016

Dear <<empyreans>>,

just a note in disqualification: I let Johannes's -

Maori cultural work

go without comment because of its implicit irony. Pacific peoples from 
the immigrations 3000-4000 years ago from the region which is now Taiwan 
tend to be brown. Thinking of blackness, and it can only be thought, 
I've met and worked with people (some my best friends!) who have very 
dark skin, never black. Did they "want to be black" like the song goes? 
or, horrible phrase, /identify /as black? ... wouldn't there be the 
blackness that one chooses and the blackness one has foisted upon one? a 
melanin allegiance or allegation in complete liminality?

...on Johannes's difficulty sending the list a post using Maori words: a 
written language is quite useless in the dark.


On 18/04/16 08:52, Derek Murray wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Johannes,
> I tend to agree with you and Tommy, however, I think there are many
> methodologies and approaches to doing the intellectual and creative
> work we all desire. Citational and recursive thinking (what some might
> derisively call "intellectualizing") has its place, alongside
> formalism, sound, and movement-based arts—which isn't to level them,
> or reduce them to generalities. They each have their place and, as
> quiet as it's kept, can exist simultaneously without the sky falling.
> For me this becomes an issue of whether it's possible to find value in
> (or simply respect) ideas and methods that differ from our own. I'm
> not speaking about tolerance discourse (i.e. Wendy Brown/Zizek), but
> rather, the ability to see the genre and boundary-defining eloquence
> in work being done across intellectual and creative approaches. It is
> indeed rare, as all forms of cultural production are most often
> dominated by genre and disciplinary strictures and dogmas. It is
> there, however, if we have the openness to see beyond our respective
> veils. I personally resist racial/ethnic essentialism in praxis and
> explore the intersections of identity in the work I produce: a gesture
> that seeks to break free of a restrictive politics around fictions of
> identitarian authenticity. Like all essentialisms, melanin allegiances
> (borrowing a term from DJ Spooky) are toxic, and I believe true
> intellectual work must be discursive and empathetic to be effective.
> Blackness, like all identity-based cultural/political constructs, is
> defined by hybridity, contamination, and a certain nebulousness where
> there is no truth condition, or authentic expressiveness or pure
> embodiment. Liquid blackness is perhaps an unflinching acknowledgement
> of this condition, because it confounds and infuriates, even as it
> forces us to step out and beyond our prescribed boundaries in thought
> and action.
> Cheers!
> Derek
> _______________________________________________
> 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/20160418/55a519e0/attachment.html>

More information about the empyre mailing list