Following her public talk on Saturday 25 August, scholar and artist Denise Ferreira da Silva will lead a study group on black aesthetics. This group will provide a focused setting to discuss some of the questions raised in her talk, and to share related ideas and practices. Ferreira da Silva will be joined by artists and scholars Ayesha Hameed, Ashwani Sharma, and Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun of The Otolith Group, offering reflections and contributions.
Through her writing and artistic collaborations Ferreira da Silva has speculated on a ‘Feminist Poethics of Blackness,’ in doing so outlining existence ‘without the tools of universal reason,’ and beyond the global as the ‘ultimate ontic and ontological horizon of thinking.’ Her Poethical Readings, in collaboration with artist Valentina Desideri, experiment with reading tools from practices such as tarot, palmistry, political therapy and philosophy, aiming at expanding the horizon of interpretation and unsettling realities. Through such ‘poethical thinking’, she has sought to activate ‘blackness’s disruptive force’, to ‘tear the veil of transparency (even if briefly) and disclose what lies at the limits of justice.’
Dr Denise Ferreira da Silva is a Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice) at the University of British Columbia. Before joining UBC, she was an Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies, at the University of California, San Diego and, from 2010 to 2015, she held the inaugural chair in Ethics at the School of Business and Management and the directorship of the Centre for Ethics and Politics, at Queen Mary University of London.
Her academic publications include the book Toward a Global Idea of Race
(University of Minnesota Press, 2007), and the edited volume Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime
(with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). She is the principal editor for the Routledge/Cavendish book series Law, Race, and the Postcolonial
(with Mark Harris and Brenna Bhandar). Her art-related work includes texts for publications linked to the 2016 Liverpool and Sao Paulo Biennales, advising Natasha Ginwala, the curator for the Contour Biennale 8 (Mechelen, 2017), as well as events (performances, talks and private sessions) and texts that form part of her own practice, Poethical Readings
(in collaboration with Valentina Desideri). Along with Arjuna Neuman, she produced the film Serpent Rain
, commissioned by Stefano Harney for the 2016 Bergen Assembly.
Ayesha Hameed’s moving image, performance and written work explore contemporary borders and migration, and visual cultures of the Black Atlantic. Her projects Black Atlantis and A Rough History (of the destruction of fingerprints)
have been performed and exhibited internationally. She is the co-editor of Futures and Fictions
(Repeater, 2017), which was nominated for a 2018 International Center of Photography's Infinity Award in the Critical Writing and Research category. She is currently the Programme Leader for the MA in Contemporary Art Theory in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.
Ashwani Sharma is a Principal Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, and a member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London. He is presently completing a book After the End of the World: On Race and Visual Culture in Global Times
(Bloomsbury), in which he is examining aesthetics and the politics of time. He is a series editor of Radical Cultural Studies at Rowman and Littlefield.
His research and teaching interests include: contemporary audio-visual culture; postcolonial and black cultural theory; digital and urban culture; global film and TV; open access publishing and online journals. He is a founding editor of darkmatter journal
where he has edited a number of special issues including on the TV series ‘The Wire’, and ‘Post-racial Imaginaries’. He is the co-editor of Disorienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Music
(Zed Books, 1996). He is a member of the Black Study Group (London), and is developing an online (sub)urban archival project ‘Must We Burn Croydon’
. He writes poetry, has worked at the BBC and on sound for independent films, and has been an aeronautical engineer.
The Otolith Group is an award-winning collaboration whose practice spans the moving image, audio, performance, installation, and research. Founded in 2002 by the artists and theorists Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun, the group engages with the cultural and political legacies and potentialities of non-aligned movements, new media, Black Study, Afrofuturism, and Indofuturism while thinking speculatively with science fictions of the present. Expanding on the work of The Otolith Group is the public platform The Otolith Collective, whose work spans programming, exhibition-making, artists’ writing, workshops, publication, and teaching, and has been influential in critically engaging the works of Chris Marker, Harun Farocki, Anand Patwardhan, Etel Adnan, Black Audio Film Collective, Sue Clayton, Mani Kaul, Peter Watkins, and Chimurenga in the UK, US, Europe, and Lebanon. The work of The Otolith Group and Collective has been presented widely, most recently at the Berlinale 13th Forum Expanded; Khiasma, Paris; The Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Sharjah Biennial 13; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; and Haus Der Kulturen de Welt, Berlin. The Otolith Group was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2010. Their exhibition A Lost Future: The Otolith Group
is on view in New York at The Rubin Museum of Art, June 1–September 17, 2018.