A Symposium that celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the founding of liquid blackness as a study group.
Dates: September 21-23, 2023, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Generously supported by a Terra Foundation of American Art grant, the event explores creative insights that, migrating from music to filmmaking and installation art, from high art to popular culture, from art galleries to digital platforms—and supported by hip-hop’s global reach as both a musical genre and a distinct visual culture—are producing the most consequential and global black visual aesthetics of our times. Music Video as Black Art: Claiming the B-Side understands this output as a contemporary expression of what, reflecting on the relationship between Romare Bearden’s collages and jazz, Toni Morrison described as the “liquidity” of the black arts, that is, conceiving and practicing one artform in terms of another: musical rhythms as visual conceits, photography as improvised music, filmmaking as music-making.
The Symposium will feature award-winning filmmakers, cinematographers, film editors, and colorists— winners of Grammys, Sundance Film Festivals, Creative Capital, Peabody, Cannes Film Festival, NAACP image awards, and many more—who have been the subjects of previous liquid blackness research projects (see https://liquidblackness.com/research-projects ). The artists will be in conversation with prominent scholars and curators of the visual arts of the black diaspora, black music history and sound studies scholars, scholars of black popular culture, performance studies, and black film theory.
The artists are: Bradford Young, Jenn Nkiru, Elissa Blount Moorhead, Shawn Peters, Stefani Saintonge, Kya Lou, in conversation with curator Ekow Eshun, and scholars Robert O’Meally, Mark Anthony Neal, Kara Keeling and Stefano Harney, as well as members of the Editorial and Advisory Boards of liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies.
Through screenings, panels and masterclasses, the Symposium will expand liquid blackness research on a lineage of three generations of black filmmakers/installation artists based in Los Angeles, London, Washington, DC and, more recently, Baltimore, who have consistently and collectively experimented with the visualization of black music, deliberately passed on this experimental agenda to later generations, and successfully operated across distinctions between commercial and art spaces.
The event is presented by Liquid Blackness, Limited and the liquid blackness Project (www.liquidblackness.com) with generous support from a Terra Foundation of American Art Convening Grant. The Terra Foundation for American Art, established in 1978 and having offices in Chicago and Paris, supports organizations and individuals locally and globally with the aim of fostering intercultural dialogues and encouraging transformative practices that expand narratives of American art, through the foundation’s grant program, collection, and initiatives.
The event is additionally supported by the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute and Global Classroom Initiative; Georgia State University’s College of the Arts, School of Film Media & Theatre, Center for Hellenic Studies, and Creative Media Industry Institute and the Office of the Vice president for Research & Economic Development; the Department of Film and Media at Emory University, the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Ranged Touch podcasting network, a host of community supporters from the extended liquid blackness community, and in intellectual partnership with the Academy for Diaspora Literacy, Inc.’s Guardians of Heritage.
For schedule details, participants, and supporters see www.liquidblackness.com.
(Photo Credit: Belly, dir. Hype Williams, 1998, frame grab. Cinematography by Malik Hassan Sayeed, Postcard design by Josh Cleveland)