Contemporary Conversation: Futurism after the Future

Image courtesy Tavia Nyong'o and Jayna Brown. Photo: Camilo Godoy
Image courtesy Tavia Nyong'o and Jayna Brown. Photo: Camilo Godoy


How do imagined futures help us articulate a multidimensional approach to cultural production?

Join us for a live, online conversation with performance studies scholar, Tavia Nyong’o and author and media studies scholar, Jayna Brown about black radical utopian practice, the performative dimensions of blackness, and the poetics of sound.

Exploring music and forms of polytemporality in black expressive cultures, this conversation looks at the role of fiction and fabulation in contemporary black artistic production and in our changing media landscapes. It explores the intersection between sound, gender dissidence, and black embodiment to address social imaginaries that exceed conditions of traumatic loss, social death, and archival erasure.

Chaired by Melissa Blanco Borelli.

This event expands on our current exhibitions and is part of Sonic Continuum, our multi-platform research programme that investigates practices of world-making through sound, both as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for producing knowledge about it.

The series Contemporary Conversations looks at how art is positioned to the present. Acknowledging artists’ roles in working with its passage, pressing and transforming it, this series of evening dialogues explores the present tense in its cultural and political dimensions, visual cultures and postcolonial debates.

Online. Free. This event will be livestreamed on Youtube.

Melissa Blanco Borelli is a dance and performance studies scholar whose research interests include identity and corporeality, blackness in Latin America, film studies, feminist historiography and performance/auto-ethnography, digital humanities, decolonial aesthetics, and thinking beyond ‘the human’. She is the author of She is Cuba: A Genealogy of the Mulata Body (2015) which won the Society of Dance History Scholars' 2016 de la Torre Bueno Prize for best book in Dance Studies. Borelli is Reader in Dance Theory and Performance at Royal Holloway, University of London and President of the Dance Studies Association.

Jayna Brown is Professor in the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute. Brown is the author of two books Babylon Girls: Black Women Performers and the Shaping of the Modern (2008) and Black Utopias: Speculative Life and the Music of Other Worlds, due for release in February, 2021, as well as numerous articles and essays. Brown is co-editor of the journal Social Text, co-director of Pratt’s Global South Center and had also been a contributing journalist for NPR's music programming.

Tavia Nyong’o is Chair and Professor of Theater & Performance Studies at Yale University. He is the author of The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruses of Memory (2009) and Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (2018), and of numerous articles in black and queer art, music, literature and performance. A long serving member of the Social Text collective, he co-edits the Sexual Cultures book series from NYU Press.

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