liquid blackness  is a research group that explores issues of blackness and aesthetics. It is composed of graduate students and alumni of the Moving Image Studies program in the Department of Communication at Georgia State University and is coordinated by faculty member, Dr. Alessandra Raengo.

The purpose of the group is to create critical encounters around art. To do so, liquid blackness fosters conversations between academic, artistic and wider communities, while harnessing and championing local artistic and scholarly talent.

liquid blackness develops innovative and adaptable tools to analyze the mercurial ways in which blackness is encountered in our contemporary visual and sonic culture. To do so liquid blackness engages in both historical and contemporary research projects emphasizing fluid interchanges between past and current experimentations in the context of transnational artistic and intellectual flows. Our events (film series, lectures, symposia, conversations) are conceived as collective research projects. For each, liquid blackness reaches out to Atlanta scholarly and artistic communities, organizes reading and research groups, and issues an online publication available here.

Why aesthetics and why liquidity?

liquid blackness focuses its reflection on the aesthetic dimensions of blackness, because it is invested in understanding how blackness modulates the human sensorium in complicated, often capricious, yet always affectively charged ways, as it unravels across visual and sonic media.

Building on Harry Elam’s observation that in contemporary culture, blackness has become capable to “travel on its own, separate and distinct from black people,” liquid blackness focuses on the aesthetic mode of liquidity because it offers a provocative yet generative characterization of this type of mobility, as well as the opportunity to reflect on what it makes available and what it forecloses. In other words, the very idea of a liquid blackness is conceived to deliberately activate a series of productive pressure points about the way blackness is thought, expressed, and lived.

“Liquidity” is also meant to describe the fluid relationship between creative, critical and curatorial practices, as well as a bleeding between artistic community and academic community that liquid blackness is committed to pursue.