Artist Lucy Raven in conversation with artist, filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa, with a special screening of two films: APEX (2013) and Mechanics of Empathy (in progress).
On the occasion of Lucy Raven’s solo exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, the artist has programmed a series of screenings in multiple locations bringing together artists’ works, animations, documentary footage and feature length films, with introductions by film scholars and conversations with pioneering filmmakers.
On 9 February, Jafa presents two films; APEX (2013) and Mechanics of Empathy (in progress), followed by a conversation with Raven. Jafa’s multidisciplinary practice uses film to investigate and question issues surrounding Black cultural politics and Black visual aesthetics modelled on the centrality of Black music to America’s cultural history.
Arthur Jafa (born 1960, Tulepo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer. His multidisciplinary practice researches and questions how we might identify a specifically black visual aesthetic, modelled on the centrality of black music to America’s cultural history and capable of matching the music’s ‘power, beauty and alienation’. Jafa particularly points to the catalytic nature of the black body in white space, finding correlations between black visual and phonic expressivity within the context of the moving image.
Jafa’s recent exhibitions include Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York (2016); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2016) and ICA, Philadelphia (2014); Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2002); Tramway, Glasgow (2001) and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001 and 2000). He has directed many films including Dreams Are Colder than Death (2014); Deshotten 1.0 (2009); Yellowjacket, (2001); Tree (1999); Black Millennium (1998); Smile (1997) and Slowly This (1995). His cinematography work includes The Start Up, Salim Akil (2013); Shadows of Liberty, Jean- Philippe Tremblay (2012); Meet the Eye, Aida Ruilova (2009); Conakry Kas, Manthia Diawara (2005); A Litany for Survival: Audre Lorde, Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson (1995); Crooklyn, Spike Lee (1994); Seven Songs for Malcolm X, John Akomfrah (1993) and Daughters of the Dust, Julie Dash (1991) (for which he won the cinematography award at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival).
Lucy Raven’s art focuses on the marginal spaces in image production – what happens behind the camera or between the frames of a film. With a true aficionado’s eye, she has handpicked a film programme spanning nine decades of cinema, pairing classic shorts and rarities with cult features and animations guaranteed to appeal to those in search of new discoveries as well as the opportunity to enjoy old favourites in this rare gallery setting.
Click here for a full schedule of all Serpentine Cinema screenings curated by Lucy Raven