Oct 6-7, 2016
liquid blackness, a research group on blackness and aesthetics, is proud to announce…


Holding Blackness in Suspension:

The Films of Kahlil Joseph

A free screening and symposium open to the public



Thursday, October 6, 7:00pm

Screening of selected works by Kahlil Joseph, followed by Q&A with the artist.
Kopleff Recital Hall: 10 Peachtree Center Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Friday, October 7, 2:00pm

Symposium: “Holding Blackness in Suspension: The Films of Kahlil Joseph”
Creative Media Industries Institute: 25 Park Place, Atlanta, GA 30302, 2nd floor

Friday, October 7, 7:00 pm

Reception at Gallery 72, featuring video projection of highlights from previous liquid blackness projects.
Gallery 72: 72 Marietta St, Atlanta, GA 30303
Supported in part by the Atlanta Film Festival and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs

Symposium Schedule
Troy Moore Library
25 Park Place, Atlanta, GA 30302, 23rd floor

2:00 pm: Welcome. Opening remarks by Alessandra Raengo (Georgia State University) and liquid blackness
2:15 pm: Bodies, Affects, Matters, facilitated by Jenny Gunn

Regina Bradley (Armstrong State University, Savannah), “When the Quiet Arrives: Race, Agency, and Gender on Screen”
Derek Conrad Murray (University of California, Santa Cruz), “Bodies That Matter: Blackness, Social Symbolism and the Affective Image”


4:00 pm: Architectures of Blackness: Space, Sound, and Screens, facilitated by Daren Fowler

Lauren M. Cramer (Pace University, NYC), “Icons of Catastrophe: Diagramming Blackness in Until the Quiet Comes

Gregory Zinman (Georgia Tech) on: sites and screens, from the gallery space to the online platform.
Kara Keeling (University of Southern California) on: sound/image relations in Joseph’s work

The two-day event is dedicated to the work of award-winning, Emmy-nominated, LA-based filmmaker Kahlil Joseph and his work with Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Flying Lotus in “Until the Quiet Comes” (2012 Sundance winner) and Beyoncé in Lemonade. The symposium will focus on the intersection of race, space, and movement. Part of our continued research on forms of aesthetic liquidity, through the idea of “suspension” the symposium will address both the peculiar quality of Joseph’s surreal visual landscapes and the way bodies move within them, and the liquid blackness commitment to “holding” blackness in the middle our collective conversations and ethical concerns. Joseph’s work fits within our continued research on experimentations with an uncompromising black film aesthetics; our interest in artists’ collectives; and our preoccupation with pursuing expansive expressive possibilities for blackness.

Flying Lotus – “Until The Quiet Comes”

(Click here to watch on Vimeo)

About Kahlil Joseph

Kahlil Joseph has made a number of beautifully-shot short films in collaboration with some of the most respected, politically engaged and forward-thinking hip hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar, and FKA Twigs, as well as indie bands such as Arcade Fire. Joseph, who is considered one of the most important hip hop video directors, is also one of the seven filmmakers who directed with Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade He is also the director of the artist collective What Matters Most which pursues a similar surreal aesthetics as a way to reimagine more expansive possibilities for blackness.

Joseph’s short film “Until the Quiet Comes” for Flying Lotus received widespread critical acclaim. The film won the ‘Grand Jury Prize’ for Short Films at Sundance Film Festival 2012 and ‘Video of the Year’ at the UKMVAs 2013. It was also featured in the exhibition eMERGING: Visual Art & Music in a Post-Hip-Hop Era curated by James Bartlett for the MoCADA, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn, NY and, most importantly in the Ruffneck Constructivists exhibit for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia curated by world renown contemporary silhouette artist Kara Walker. This past summer he had his first solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Kahlil Joseph: Double Conscience, which included a 2-screen video installation titled m.A.A.d.

About the Speakers

Regina N. Bradley  is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University. She is also an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow at Harvard University (Spring 2016). Dr. Bradley researches and writes about post-Civil Rights African American literature, the contemporary Black American South, pop culture, race and sound, and Hip Hop. She is also the founder and host of OutKasted Conversations, a critically acclaimed dialogue series that explores the impact of hip hop duo Outkast on popular culture. She is currently working on her first book-length study titled Chronicling Stankonia: OutKast and the Rise of the Hop South (under contract, UNC Press). Chronicling Stankonia theorizes how hip hop, with emphasis on OutKast, updates the framework for understanding the post-Civil Rights American South. Dr. Bradley has written extensively on popular culture and race, including published in Comedy Studies, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, Palimpsest, and Current Musicology. Dr. Bradley is also the author of Boondock Kollage: New Stories from the Contemporary Black South, a collection of short stories, forthcoming from Peter Lang press. She also has creative works published or forthcoming with BOAAT Journal, Obsidian, and Transition. Known on social media as Red Clay Scholar, a nod to her Georgia upbringing, Dr. Bradley’s work is featured at www.redclayscholar.com.

Derek Conrad Murray (Ph.D., Cornell University) is an Associate Professor of contemporary art and visual culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz; he focuses on the junctures of African-American and African diasporic art, post-black art and aesthetics, cultural theory, identity and representation. Murray is the author of Queering Post-Black Art: Artists Transforming African-American Identity After Civil Rights (I.B. Tauris, 2016). Murray is Associate Editor of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art (Duke University Press), is currently serving on the Editorial Advisory Board of Third Text and has recently joined the Editorial Board of Art Journal (CAA) and will serve until 2020.

Lauren M Cramer is Assistant Professor of Film and Screen Studies at Pace University in New York. Her current research project, “A Hip-Hop Joint: Thinking Architecturally about Blackness,” considers Blackness as the architectonic logic that coheres hip-hop’s increasingly diverse output. Lauren is a founding member of liquid blackness and currently serves on its editorial board. Her writing has appeared in Film Criticismliquid blackness, InMediaRes and is forthcoming in Black Camera.

Kara Keeling is Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies in the School of Cinematic Arts and of American Studies and Ethnicity in Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California. She works in the areas of Film and Media Studies, Black Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Critical Theory, and Cultural Studies. She is the author of The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense (Duke University Press, 2007);  co-editor (with Josh Kun) of Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies and (with Colin MacCabe and Cornel West) of a selection of writings by the late James A. Snead entitled European Pedigrees/ African Contagions: Racist Traces and Other Writing. Keeling’s articles have appeared in the journals GLQ, Cultural Studies, Qui ParleThe Black ScholarWomen and Performance. Her most recent book manuscript, tentatively entitled Queer Times, Black Futures, is under contract with New York University Press.

Gregory Zinman is an Assistant Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. Before arriving at Georgia Tech, he was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the Film Program at Columbia University and the scholar-in-residence at the New York Film-Makers’ Cooperative. In 2013, he was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, working on the Nam June Paik Archive. He is currently completing his first book, Handmade: The Moving Image Without Photography, which provides a theoretical and historical framework for understanding craft-based moving image practices, from painted film to new media. He is also editing, with John Hanhardt and Edith Decker-Phillips, Nam June Paik: Selected Writings (forthcoming from The MIT Press). Zinman’s writing on film and media has been published in The New YorkerAmerican ArtFilm HistoryAnimation JournalMIRAJ, and Millennium Film Journal. His current research is supported by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He serves as a curatorial consultant to the Yale University Art Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and has programmed film and media art at the Film-makers’ Co-op, the Museum of the Moving Image, Asia Society New York, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, as well as a number of venues in Atlanta. His website, handmadecinema.com, received the 2015 award for “Best Electronic Reference Site,” from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association.

FKA Twigs – Video Girl

(Click here to watch on Vimeo)

More about Kahlil Joseph

Joseph often refers to his films as “a new kind of music film and not just […] film about music.”[1] Joseph’s work has been screened on concerts stages for thousands of fans at Kendrick Lamar/Kanye West concerts, at both the Sundance and Toronto International Film festivals, and on MTV. Viewers can recognize Joseph’s films across these dramatically different cultural spaces through their surreal and dreamlike organization, rich textures and moody cinematography, and an unwavering commitment to exploring the details of black lives on screen.[2] The characters in Joseph’s films appear suspended between extremes: in “Until the Quiet Comes.” the dancer Storyboard P’s choreography is both human and robotic; in “Video Girl,” a man on death row moves wildly just before being restrained for lethal injection. His videos offer an opportunity to consider the moving image, public space, and race at the intersection of hip-hop, blackness, cinema, collectivity, and black spaces. Furthermore, Joseph’s work visualizes liquid blackness’s founding interest in finding fluidity in the expression of blackness in the photographic/cinematic image. His unique artistic and social vision had lead to a dynamic career. He has had success working individually and as part of collaborative practices, which includes collaborations with an established earlier generation of black filmmakers and scholars; he participates in both the high and popular art realms; and his content moves between the universal concerns of life and death and the particularities of urban space.

[1] Alan Light, “Arcade Fire Seeks More Than a Rockumentary With ‘The Reflektor Tapes,’” The New York Times, September 4, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/arts/music/arcade-fire-seeks-more-than-a-rockumentary-with-the-reflektor-tapes.html.

[2] Niela Orr, “It’s About the Notes You Don’t Play: Friday Evening at the 3rd Annual Blackstar Film Festival,” Shadow and Act, accessed January 17, 2016, http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/its-about-the-notes-you-dont-play-friday-evening-at-the-blackstar-film-festival-20140802.

“Holding Blackness in Suspension: The Films of Kahlil Joseph” is supported in part by CENCIA, the Center for Collaborative and International Arts at Georgia State University; CMII, the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University; Georgia State University’s College of the Arts; Georgia Institute of Technology’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts; the Film and Media Studies department at Emory University; the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs; the Atlanta Film Festival; the William M. Suttles Foundation; and the Institute for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Georgia State University.