Jason Harris (’15) on Afrofuturism, African Diaspora, Music, etc.

Jason Harris (’15) on Afrofuturism, African Diaspora, Music, etc.

From Black Speculative Arts Digital Archive

1. What was the inspiration for the creation of “MotherShip: MotherVerse”?

“MotherShip:MotherVerse” was conceived as part of a public Afrofuturism exhibit entitled “The MotherShip Connection.” Poet, Community Builder and Afrofuturist Olu Butterfly conceived this idea and asked me to be one of her collaborators. This was an opportunity for us to mount an exhibit at Artscape, which is the largest outdoor public art festival in the U.S. The Mothership Connection allowed us to connect the work of some of the amazing artists here in Baltimore with the community. The title of the show is obviously a reference to the famous Parliament tune as well as their now enshrined stage prop. Olu however had a different concept of what a Mothership could be – she was interested in portraying the Mothership as a more organic structure, something earthy yet capable of travel. This involved us building an actual ship. Inside the ship, we decided to have a screen that depicted travel, gave a brief primer of Afrofuturism and then told a story. So I took on those tasks. I cobbled together a primer, which was okeydoke at best, but then I really got hooked on creating a short that extended Olu’s original vision. Toni Morrison has a quote that says “Black Woman is both ship and safe harbor.”

Read the rest of the post here: Jason Harris in BSADArchive

Tope Folarin (’15) Robert Irwin and African Fiction

Tope Folarin (’15) Robert Irwin and African Fiction

I DIDN’T KNOW MUCH about Robert Irwin’s work when I wandered into the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden a few weeks ago. I knew that he was a contemporary of a few other artists I admire, James Turrell among them, and that he was the first artist to win a MacArthur Genius Grant in 1984, but I could not recall seeing his work at the Hirshhorn, the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, or any of the other museums I visit on a frequent basis.

The exhibition is called Robert Irwin: All the Rules Will Change. Step off the escalator, walk a few feet, and before you, floating at about eye level, is a white sphere. It is split in half horizontally; a thin band of black pulses at the center. Instead of appreciation, comprehension, even confusion, your mind generates a series of questions. How can it be that this sphere is floating? And what exactly is in the middle of that … that thing? Is it some kind of light? Can light be black? Can black light pulse? Step closer to the sphere, look behind it. Ah. A clear plastic tube connects the sphere to the wall. Indeed, from this vantage point the sphere no longer resembles a sphere; it is actually a wedge of curved plastic. Or metal. Or something. You still cannot tell what is happening in the middle.

 

Read the rest of the article here: Tope Folarin in the LA Review of Books

George Kevin Jordan (’15) from the Jaded Ibis Blog

George Kevin Jordan (’15) from the Jaded Ibis Blog

THE BURDEN OF DIVERSITY

Every year it was the same. The then Milwaukee Sentinel printed the pictures of all their summer interns who worked at the paper. The pictures were divided into two categories:

Interns

Minority Interns

Each year, my picture, with the worst lighting imaginable, was displayed under the minority banner. I hated that term: minority intern. It was code for so many things. “Look, we have people of color on our staff!”

But the title also translated into some real life/work challenges as well.

Minority Interns meant you were “guided” into certain beats. Community Affairs, which is also code for the “N***a Beat,” writing about Juneteenth, and all other manner of black experience. Such things are a joy to write about when you want to write about them. But we were all trying to be reporters. We wanted to break news, not cover parades. The breaking news was usually divided amongst the “intern” interns. The ilk of writers who dropped in on the city for the summer to get their mid-size paper cred before jumping to a top-tier internship like the Washington Post or the New York Times. This paper was their stepping stone. For most of us minority interns, though, this was our first and possibly last step.

 

Read the rest of the post here: George Kevin Jordan on The Burden of Diversity