Intimate Trespass: Hapticality, Waywardness, and the Practice of Entanglement

Cecil Sharp House

8 Jul 2017 - 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Intimate Trespass: Hapticality, Waywardness, and the Practice of Entanglement

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On the occasion of Arthur Jafa's exhibition, Professor Saidiya Hartman (Columbia University) joins scholars, artists and writers to discuss themes from her landmark text, Scenes of Subjection, including questions of political economy and ecology, race, gender and legal theory. Presented in collaboration with Dr. Rizvana Bradley (Yale University), with support from Women & Performance, a journal of feminist theory. Participants include Francis Alÿs, Rizvana Bradley, Helen Cammock, Tina Campt, Kodwo Eshun, Jack Halberstam, Saidiya Hartman, Karrabing Film Collective, Karen Salt and more to be announced.

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Throughout his practice, Francis Alÿs consistently directs his distinct poetic and imaginative sensibility toward anthropological and geopolitical concerns centered around observations of, and engagements with, everyday life, which the artist himself has described as "a sort of discursive argument composed of episodes, metaphors, or parables." His multifaceted projects including public actions, installations, video, paintings, and drawings and involve travelling the longest possible route between locations in Mexico and the United States; pushing a melting block of ice through city streets; commissioning sign painters to copy his paintings; filming his efforts to enter the centre of a tornado; carrying a leaking can of paint along the contested Israel/Palestine border; and equipping hundreds of volunteers to move a colossal sand dune ten centimetres. Born in 1959 in Antwerp, Belgium, Alÿs originally trained as an architect. He moved to Mexico City in 1986, where he continues to live and work, and it was the confrontation with issues of urbanization and social unrest in his new country of adoption that inspired his decision to become a visual artist.

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and African-American Studies at Yale University.  She holds a BA from Williams College and a PhD from Duke University. She was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Her forthcoming book received a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.  She was the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory, and has published articles in TDR: The Drama ReviewDiscourseRhizomes, and Black Camera.  She was also recently appointed Assistant Editor at the journal, boundary 2

Helen Cammock studied BA Photography at The University of Brighton and graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011. Her practice uses photography, video, poetry, writing, spoken word, song, printmaking and installation. Her work has recently been screened and exhibited at venues including the Serpentine Cinema series; Open Source Contemporary Arts Festival; as part of Tate Artists Moving Image Screening Programme, Tate Britain, and at Hollybush Gardens gallery, London. She has written for Photoworks and Aperture magazines and was shortlisted for the Bridport poetry prize in 2015. Helen has had work published in The Photographers’ Gallery journal Loose Associations and published a new artist book and vinyl 12” with Bookworks, London in April 2017. She has a solo show at Cubitt, London in later this year. Helen was co-director of Brighton Photo Fringe Festival for 4 years. 

Tina Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Director of the Barnard Center for Research on Women, and Chair of the Africana Studies Department at Barnard. Originally trained in modern German history at Cornell University, Professor Campt’s published work explores gender, racial and diasporic formation in black communities in Germany, and Europe more broadly. She is the author of three books. Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender and Memory in the Third Reich (University of Michigan Press, 2004) is a historical inquiry based on oral histories and archival documents that explores the experiences of Black Germans during the Third Reich. Image Matters: Archive, Photography and the African Diaspora in Europe (Duke University Press, 2012) theorizes the affects of family photography in early twentieth century Black German and Black British communities. Her most recent book, Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017) theorizes the everyday practices of refusal and fugitivity enacted in a frequently overlooked genre of black vernacular photographs she calls ‘quiet photography.’ 

Kodwo Eshun is a British-Ghanaian writer, theorist and filmmaker. He studied English Literature (BA Hons, MA Hons) at University College, Oxford University, and Romanticism and Modernism MA Hons at Southampton University. He currently teaches on the MA in Contemporary Art Theory in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has contributed to a wide range of publications, including The Guardian, The Face, The Wire, i-D, Melody Maker, Spin, Arena, Frieze, CR: The New Centennial Review and 032c, in addition to his book More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction, which was published in 1998.

Jack Halberstam is Professor of English and Gender Studies at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of five books including The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Female Masculinity (Duke UP 1998) and just finished a book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (UC Press, 2017 forthcoming). He is also working on a book on wildness.

Saidiya Hartman received her B.A. from Wesleyan University (1984) and Ph.D. from Yale University (1992). Professor Hartman's major fields of interest are African American and American literature and cultural history, slavery, law and literature, and performance studies. She is on the editorial board of Callaloo. She has been a Fulbright, Rockefeller, Whitney Oates, and University of California President's Fellow. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-making in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford University Press,1997) and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007). She has published essays on photography, film and feminism. She is beginning a new project on photography and ethics.

The Karrabing Film Collective is a grassroots Indigenous based media group. Filmmaking provides a means of self-organization and social analysis for the Karrabing. Screenings and publications allow the Karrabing to develop a local artistic languages and forms and allow audiences to understand new forms of collective Indigenous agency. Their medium is a form of survivance—a refusal to relinquish their country and a means of investigating contemporary social conditions of inequality. The films represent their lives, create bonds with their land, and intervene in global images of Indigeneity.

Karen Salt co-Directs the Centre for Research in Race and Rights at the University of Nottingham where she works on race, trust, power and sovereignty. A significant portion of her work investigates how black nation-states and global minority communities fight for their continued sovereignty in a highly racialised world. A sought-after national and international speaker on race and politics, she frequently engages with students, collaborates with community ogranisations and advises governmental bodies on aspects of power and social justice.

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Related Events / Exhibitions

Exhibition

Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions

8 Jun 2017 to 10 Sep 2017

Featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus. The Serpentine presents the work of the acclaimed US filmmaker, cinematographer and artist Arthur Jafa. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic, multidisciplinary practice ranging from films and installations to lecture-performances and happenings that tackle, challenge and question prevailing cultural assumptions about identity and race.

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Intimate Trespass: Hapticality, Waywardness, and the Practice of Entanglement

Intimate Trespass: Hapticality, Waywardness, and the Practice of Entanglement

Arthur Jafa 11

Arthur Jafa 11

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (still), 2016; Video (colour, sound); 7 minutes 25 seconds; Courtesy: The Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise (New York / Rome).
Arthur Jafa 3

Arthur Jafa 3

Arthur Jafa, still from Love is the Message, The Message is Death, 2016. Images courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome
Arthur Jafa 8

Arthur Jafa 8

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (still), 2016; Video (colour, sound); 7 minutes 25 seconds; Courtesy: The Artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise (New York / Rome).