This microseminar is for graduate student residents of The Black Embodiments Studio, a critical arts writing incubator and public lecture series that brings graduate students from a range of disciplines and knowledge-based practices together to query how definitions of blackness are produced and expressed through visual, aural, and affective realms—engaging three domains that underwrite the physical and metaphysical dimensions of inhabiting black skin. In focusing on embodiments, plural, The Studio highlights the term as a verb that invokes activity and movement, as well as the temporary and fleeting. The language of embodiments clears space to consider the repeated, aesthetic and performative constitution of blackness while remaining attuned to the material consequences that inhere in the utterance black.
The Black Embodiments Studio ultimately provides residents a structure of support to critically engage and build upon the discourse surrounding the politics, practices, and pleasures of black embodiments since the 1970s. Focusing on exhibition catalog essays and exhibition reviews, residents are steeped in a variety of aesthetic practices including dance, visual art, sound, and new media, and critical, theoretical standpoints emanating from art history, performance studies, critical race studies, and more. Residents also gain intimate access to artists, scholars, and curators invited to be “in residence” with The Studio, as their work on contemporary black embodiments models the innovation, accessibility, and criticality that residents strive for in their own writing. Guests such as the artist Liz Mputu (Fall ’17) and scholar Sampada Aranke (Winter '18) give public presentations on their practice, but also participate in a closed session with residents. Importantly, residents themselves develop and workshop one piece of short-form arts criticism (~600-2,000 words) meant to be published in outlets such as Performa Magazine, Art Practical, and Artforum, The Jacob Lawrence Gallery journal, Monday, The Stranger, and City Arts Magazine. The goal of developing this writing is to practice new methodologies, forms, and tones that will make residents' larger projects (and themselves) accessible to broad audiences.
While The Black Embodiments Studio centers racial blackness, The Studio will be of interest to all students invested in thinking through the intersections of racialization, aesthetic cultures, and critical writing practices. Interested graduate students should submit a two-page letter of inquiry as a PDF to Kemi Adeyemi by March 9. This letter should detail the applicants critical practice, how thinking through black embodiments may be generative to it, and what they hope to gain from The Studio. Ten residents will be notified of acceptance by March 16.
Times and Location
Sessions meet 11 am-12:30 pm on these days:
Friday, April 6
Thursday, April 19
Friday, May 11
Friday, May 1
Friday, June 1
Kemi Adeyemi is Assistant Professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. Her book manuscript, Making New Grounds: Black Queer Women’s Geographies of Neoliberalism, is currently in development and she is in the process of co-editing a volume titled Queer Nightlife, a collection of essays, interviews, writing, and ephemera that documents the diverse expressions of queer nightlife worldwide. Her exhibition unstable objects, co-curated with Sampada Aranke, opened at The Alice Gallery in 2017. Recent publications span academic and arts audiences, and include “Donald Trump is the Perfect Man for the Job,” in QED: A Journal of GLBTQ Worldmaking; exhibition catalog essays for black is a color (Los Angeles, CA), Impractical Weaving Suggestions (Madison, WI), and Endless Flight (Chicago, IL).