In an engaging profile of poet-scholar Fred Moten recently published in Art News, Adrienne Edwards, curator of performance at the Whitney Museum remarks on the importance of Moten’s In the Break for theories of blackness, both as a racial identity and as an aesthetic category: “From Moten, she gained a sense that ‘blackness itself could fluctuate and circulate and levitate in a way that is not always attributed to it,’ Edwards said. ‘He made it a multiplicity.’” As for Edwards, Moten has likewise had a marked impact on the formation of liquid blackness as a research group primarily focused on aesthetics and on the theorization of blackness as a form of liquidity. This impact is perhaps especially present in our research project, Can Blackness Be Loved? prompted by the work of one of Moten’s frequent collaborators who is also discussed in the Art News profile, Arthur Jafa. Unrolled during the SCMS special events in Atlanta, in the Spring 2016, when Jafa screened Dreams are Colder than Death as well as the yet untitled video of what later became Love is the Message, the Message is Death, this research dove into questions of “Black Ontology and the Love of Blackness” explored so powerfully in Jafa’s film. In his detailed profile, Andy Battaglia describes a recent conversation between Moten and Jafa on the topic of Moten’s latest publication, Black and Blur, the first of his trilogy, consent not to be a single being, during which “Moten described the idea of “blur” to his friend, the artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa, as being defined by those moments ‘when the level of precision goes up but in a way that doesn’t allow you to make simple distinctions between all the elements of whatever it was you were trying to pay attention to.’ He likened it to his ongoing critique of individuation—among people, primarily, but also as it applies to any and all things.”  Click here to read more.

 

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