Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death, a short single-channel video piece, opened over the weekend at MOCA L.A., marking the video’s debut on the west coast. The video, which Jafa previewed last spring at the liquid blackness event “Can Blackness Be Loved” hosted at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, will run at MOCA through June 12th. Read more including an interview with Jafa here.
*Please note the time and date of the conversation with Julie Dash has been changed to 5 pm, Saturday April 8th after the screening of Daughters of the Dust.
liquid blackness joins in celebrating John Akomfrah’s winning of the 7th edition of the Artes Mundi Prize, the largest arts prize in the UK. The Artes Mundi prize is awarded to a single artist who is judged to have consistently made thought provoking work of exceptional quality that fits within the criteria of the prize.
The prize of £40,000 is designed to allow the winner to develop substantial new work or the time to reflect on their practice and move it forward. Founded in 2002 by Welsh artist William Wilkins, the Artes Mundi Exhibition and Prize is Wales’ biggest and most exciting contemporary visual art show, the largest art prize in the UK and one of the most significant in the world. According to ArtNet News, the Artes Mundi 7 Prize was awarded for Akomfrah’s presentation of Auto Da Fé and for a substantial body of outstanding work dealing with issues of migration, racism, and religious persecution.
Baldwin’s Nigger and Reggae
Friday, February 24, 2017
Gallery 992 | 8:00 pm
$10 admission | Tickets available on EventbriteCo-sponsored by Liquid Blackness, the Department of Film & Media Studies and the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University
Horace Ové, CBE, may be best known for Pressure (1976), the first feature film by a black director in Britain. But earlier in his career came two remarkable political documentaries produced in the wake of Black Power – one a document of James Baldwin at peak intensity, and the other an examination of reggae at the very beginning of its international emergence.
The 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro has shown all over again the importance of James Baldwin’s ideas and the ever-powerful force of his literary voice. Horace Ové’s film Baldwin’s Nigger documents a 1969 appearance by Baldwin and Dick Gregory at London’s West Indian Student Centre. In an extemporized address to a packed room, Baldwin undertakes a complex examination of the experience of blackness, in history and in the immediate context of the American war in Vietnam.
Always a magnetic presence, Baldwin is at his most riveting in this film. Following his talk is an animated back-and-forth between the audience of students, activists, and community members and Baldwin, who responds in the moment to questions about integration, the difference between “Negro” and “black,” and the role of white liberals in Black Power. Ové’s film, rather than simply celebrating a famous writer, preserves the integrity of Baldwin’s encounter with his audience. Baldwin’s Nigger is thus a valuable document not only of Baldwin, but of the West Indian Student Centre itself, and of a black community in Britain finding the way through a fraught political moment.
Reggae is a very early documentary about the political significance of Jamaican music’s emergence in Britain. Filmed partly at a 1970 concert in Wembley Stadium and containing performances by Desmond Dekker, the Maytals and other superstars, Reggae is nonetheless something other than a concert film. Found footage, street photography, interviews with fans and music industry figures combine with the vintage performances to create a sharp and textured report that captures its moment and looks forward to reggae’s worldwide acceptance and its influence on the imminent development of British punk.
Though quite different from each other, both of these films touch on themes of immigration, integration, and black culture across borders. Their immediate context was the West Indian experience in Britain in the era of Black Power, but Horace Ové’s prescience as a filmmaker ensures they remain ever-relevant to us, here, today, in the era of Black Lives Matter, and beyond.
Baldwin’s Nigger (Horace Ové, 1969) 45 minutes
Reggae (Horace Ové, 1971) 60 minute
992 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Wednesday, February 22, Ciné Murmur will screen Aloysius Harmon’s Permanent Daylight, Boneshaker by Ghanaian director Frances Bodomo, and Swimming in Your Skin Again directed by Terrance Nance. Screening from 7-10 pm at Murmur Gallery, 100 Broad St.
Ciné Murmur is a monthly screening hosted at Murmur featuring a short film from emerging artists, writers and filmmakers and a feature short flick or documentary.
$5 Suggested donations
Arthur Jafa’s “Love is the Message, The Message is Death” is currently screening in an exhibition for Gavin Brown Enterprise (GBE) at 429 WEST 127TH Street, New York now through December 17. As described from GBE’s website:
The viral outgrowth of an aborted found-footage exercise, the 7-minute video [Love is the Message, The Message is Death] is an alternately mirthful-cum-melancholic-cum-cardiac-arresting meditation on race-agency wrapped in a visually sermonic recitation of race tragedy wrapped in a nuanced and feverish exultation of diverse Black American lives at various states of collapse and regeneration–a spectrum of community including those identified by Jafa in an earlier project as “The Uncommon Folk.”
To read the full description click here.
Afrofuturism and Environmental Justice: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
*The screening will take place in the Ferst Center for the Arts.
The research of liquid blackness receives a footnote credit in Marc Francis’ essay, “Splitting the difference: on the queer-feminist divide in Scarlett Johansson’s recent body politics,” his contribution to the dossier on Jonathan Glazer’s 2013 film, Under the Skin newly published in Jump Cut.
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