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As a prologue, Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) is pleased to present Conjurings, a public program unfolding over three weekends in July and August 2022. Shaped by scholars, artists, musicians, writers, shamans, machines, sonic technologies, and many other life-forms and undefinable disciplines, Conjurings braids invocation, incantation, questioning, un-earthing, and ceremony to open space for future (un)doings.
Convened by Erika Sprey and artists Lamin Fofana and Sky Hopinka have been working together with Emmy Catedral, Curator of Public Programs, and Manuela Moscoso, Executive Director, conjuring weaved voices inspired by each of their own practices and research throughout the program and beyond. Out of this process of forging new collaborations and expanding our networks, we are happy to present various evolving forms of live and situated experimentings.
Our guiding question is: How do we dream not only about ourselves? That is to say, to dream not only about ourselves, but about each other, about beings of the forest, of water, of animals, buildings, shelters—of concrete or invisible beings, as porous interdependent entities reliant on each other and everything around us. Such collective dreamwork requires a deep and thorough understanding of the shifting mechanisms of oppression and the realities of racial capitalism. It demands the undoing of Western categories and demarcations of thought; linear and quantifiable time-space notions, and inadequate dichotomies of body and spirit, rational and organic, nature and culture, dreaming and waking. Each invited conjurer will speak to and through these conditions for collective and liberatory dream practice—listening with care to what emerges from these future ancestries, and tending their rich and opaque transmissions.
Conjurings are free and open to the public. We have limited capacity, so reservations are required.
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22 - 24 July 2022
July 22, 2022
7:00 pm Doors Open
7:45 pm Opening Remarks by Manuela Moscoso
8:00 pm Humeysha with Mimi Bai, Sam B. Jones, Don Christian, and Special Guest: Apparitions, Ancestors, and the Diasporic Imagining
Field recordings of Pakistani cities; the distinct dialect of an ailing grandmother’s reminisces; quick rhythmic loops from favorite childhood Bollywood songs—all of these sounds find their way into Humeysha (Zain Alam). For this program, the artist and musician will play a blend of field recordings, ancestral text, and new works-in-progress - an experiment in braided compositional process from which the score for the film Hide & See was born, and which has continued this past year in residencies across the Rockies and Appalachian Mountains.
A screening of Hide & See by Mimi Bai and Sam B. Jones, will be accompanied by Alam's blend of a recorded and live score. The experimental narrative film explores invisibility/hypervisibility, labor, and assimilation, recasting artist Mimi Bai’s clay and textile sculptures into shrouds for two ghosts, who deploy camouflage and bushcraft in a series of attempts to evade and outwit one another, all the while unraveling a hidden connection between them. The screening will be followed by a special performance by DonChristian, and a DJ set by special guest to close out a night of apparitions, ancestors, and Diasporic imagining.
July 23, 2022
1:00 pm Doors Open
1:15 pm Opening Remarks by Manuela Moscoso
1:30 pm Amal Alhaag with Kwami Coleman and Negarra Kudumu: Dispossessed Notes on Dirty Work: Broadcasting rituals and strategies for ordinary shape-shifters
This radio show looks, feels and listens through the lens of science-fiction, music, static and poetry to the ways we can be in the present tense and work towards the urgent project of simultaneously interrogating systems of dispossessions and negation and actively listen to the Diasporic archive of the everyday. What does it mean to be sent by histories? Together, we listen through the ways existing in minor keys has brought forward radical and rascal thoughts, practices, movements and riots. Dispossessed Notes on Dirty Work is an ongoing research project where the radio show is a social space for hanging out as a political practice.
03:15 pm Break
03:30 pm Louis Chude-Sokei: Synthesis Genesis: Conjuring Black Algorithms
A talk and listening session focused on the sound art/multimedia/album project produced by Louis Chude-Sokei and iconic German electronic experimentalists, Mouse on Mars.
4:30 pm Break
4:45 pm Johann Diedrick: [ a choreography of syncs]
[ a choreography of syncs ] braids together original musical composition, field recordings, interviews, readings, and autonomous sounding objects in order to hold space for erratic sonic encounter to arrive. Interweaving sonic events that run on clocks of their own, the performance is threaded together with a free-flowing interview between the performer and his father, tracing memories of Caribbean meteorology [ the hurricane ], aquatic revelry [ the swim ], and inter[species/generational] communication through wind [ the whistle ]. Through soft embrace of unpredictable cycles, [ a choreography of syncs ] whisks past memories with present offerings to transmit yet-to-be-heard reverberations for curious listeners.
7:00 pm Doors Open
7:05 pm Opening Remarks by Manuela Moscoso
7:10 pm The Otolith Group: Department of Xenogenesis
Convened by The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun), Department of Xenogenesis is an ongoing time space for public online and offline discussions, performances, screenings and exhibitions with artists, filmmakers, theorists, and musicians. This iteration of DXG is built upon the traveling exhibition Xenogenesis (currently at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin), with this event marking the New York launch of the publication (Archive Books, 2022) of the same name, which includes materials and graphics from The Otolith Group’s broader practice, including performance, lecture and research.
Introduced by Andrea Phillips, the program will begin with a conversation among The Otolith Group, Ed Halter, and book contributor Mahan Moalemi, to be followed by a performance by Miya Masaoka and Zeena Parkins, and ending with a reading of Sembalance by Fred Moten, with Brandon Lopez.
9:30 pm Break
9:45 pm DJ Black Helmet: First Excursion vol.1
First Excursion is a 12 part suite of sonic works played by DJ Black Helmet across multiple custom cut records (with his voice used as accent) featuring field recordings from a variety of Black spaces across America. First Excursion vol. 1 is a re-imagining of Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage and Ramsey Lewis's song by the same name.
11:00 pm End
July 24, 2022
1:00 pm Doors Open
1:10 pm Opening Remarks by Manuela Moscoso
1:15 pm The Black School: Love Letter to Me - Collage And Sound Performance Workshop
Participants will be able to think critically about their personal love affair with themselves in relation to Black spiritual and political traditions inspired by "Love Letter to Me" by Keily Adams from The Black School: Magazine, Issue #2. Participants will gain an understanding of how they can create a collage using self-love as a principle. This collage activity will be soundtracked by a listening experience inspired by southern tent revivals and Black spirituality to create a meditative space for Black folks to contemplate, create, relieve trauma, experience joy, and find strength on the road to resistance. Using an Akai beat machine we will play assorted music including Alice Coltrane, Black radical speech snippets, Voodoo prayers and chants, and drums. Length of Workshop: 2 Hours - Age fluid! From 5 to 99
3:15 pm Break
3:45 pm cy x: A spell for our earthly selves...
This is a ritual for connection where for a moment we honor the totality of ourselves, our bodies, the earth, our pleasure, and the eco-erotic with the utmost reverance. If we are coming together to ask, how do we dream not only about ourselves, Let this then be a space for excavating & unearthing & arriving at new possibilities.
4:45 pm Break
5:15 pm Pedro Neves Marques: Poetry Reading
Pedro Neves Marques will be reading a selection of poems from their 2020 collection Sex as Care and Other Viral Poems and new poetry from a book they are currently preparing. For the occasion, they selected poems bringing together feelings of love mediated by spirits, technology, and gender.
5:30 pm Amanda Piña: Becoming Mountains.
Practicas Eco Somáticas, a radical pedagogy for a decolonial ecology. Through embodiment and dream-like experience we become many, transform into earth beings, become what we are: ancestral bodies, water bodies, bodies of mountains, of ice, of earth. This is a participatory proposal.
7:00 pm End
Conjurings are free and open to the public. We have limited capacity, so reservations are required.
Click here to reserve.
Blue CHiLD. & iris yirei hu will produce a commissioned installation in CARA’s main gallery, accompanying the program of performances, talks, and presentations. The second floor will also host an ongoing exhibition rooting the program in legacies of Black, Latinx and Indigenous intellectual frameworks and their many intertwined cultural expressions, with an intergenerational span of works by Amanda Piña, Betty Tchomanga, Emerson Uyra, Grandma Baby Apothecary, June Jordan, Khari-Johnson Ricks, Marilyn Nance, and Sky Hopinka. Presented in the ground floor gallery and CARA bookstore are works by Neema Githere, Juan Alvear, and the late Anishinaabe and Chemehuevi poet Diane Burns.We would love to have you with us.
—Schedule is subject to change
—COVID-19 Protocol: For the health and safety of our staff, invited artists, and public, we shall be requesting everyone to mask during the performance programs.
—Accessibility: The entry to CARA is ADA-compliant and our bookstore and galleries are barrier free throughout with all gender, wheelchair accessible bathrooms. CARA shall accommodate guest wheelchair needs if requested in advance via email@example.com. Service animals are welcome. The closest wheelchair accessible subway is 14th St/8th Avenue station.
Andrea Phillips: BALTIC Professor of Art, Northumbria University Newcastle UK; writer, organiser, Director of BxNU Institute. Phillips lectures and writes about the economic and social construction of public value within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganization within artistic and curatorial culture.
Amal Alhaag is a researcher and co-founder of several initiatives, such as Metro54, a platform for experimental sonic, dialogic and visual culture. Alhaag develops ongoing experimental and collaborative research practice, public programs and projects on global spatial politics, archives, colonialism, counter-culture, oral histories and popular culture. She is based in Amsterdam.
Amanda Piña's work embodies the political and social power of movement grounded in indigenous forms of knowledge and world making/maintaining. Piña is a plurifaceted artist working through choreographic and dance research, creating and curating educational frameworks, writing and editing publications around what she refers as endangered movement practices. Her work is presented inside performing and visual arts contexts. Piña is Chilean-Mexican-Austrian based in Vienna and Mexico City.
Ayesha is a Queens based artist whose tactile club productions trace an arc across techno, bass, and diasporic influences. The release of the EP ‘Potential Energy’ on UK label Scuffed Recordings has marked the crescendo of a year-long wave of momentum for the artist whose latest work received critical praise from Mixmag, RA, DJ Mag, and the Lobster Theremin. In March 2022, Ayesha joined the highly regarded roster of residents at Nowadays. Her nights are widely known for their euphoric dance-floor moments and heavy bass sound.
DJ Black Helmet
DJ Black Helmet (he/him) has been playing the jams outside for over 15 years. He currently has a weekly radio show on WFMU where he focuses on jams that are bountiful and righteous from all parts of the world. He also self describes as “a guy who makes stuff,” producing objects and spaces specifically intended to welcome and serve communities the fine arts world often overlooks. He is based in New York.
The Black School
The Black School (TBS) is an experimental art school teaching Black/PoC students and allies to become radical agents of change. Based on our commitment to community building and our core principles of Black love, wellness, and self- determination, TBS’ mission is to extend the legacy of art in Black radical histories through innovative, multi-generational
workshops/programs, an annual festival, and our youth staffed art and design studio- TBS: Design Studio.With this foundation we are now moving from the initial mobile model we developed in NYC towards building a 21st century schoolhouse that will serve as a community center in our co-founders birthplace New Orleans. The Black Schoolhouse will create a home base and allow TBS to expand our work and deepen roots through long-term community engagements.
Brandon López and Fred Moten
Brandon López and Fred Moten are two thirds of a trio that also includes percussionist Gerald Cleaver. The first (and eponymous) album was just released by Reading Group Records. Brandon is a New York-based composer and bassist working at the fringes of jazz, free improvisation, noise and new music. Fred is a New York-based educator and writer working in the blur of poetry and criticism.
cy x (they/we) is a pleasure ceremonialist and cyber witch doing the magical work of integrating indigenous, ancestral, and emerging technologies. They often think about pleasure, the eco-erotic, and how to embody ways of being that move beyond binaries and reliance on techno-capitalist fixes. In fusing art and technology with the practice of witchcraft, they use rituals, movement, ceremony, and performance to unearth unspoken stories and fundamentally alter the world around us.
DonChristian Jones is an interdisciplinary artist, musician, and director. Their work spans painting, musical albums, videos, and performance installation. Don has shown and performed in spaces such as The Whitney Museum, MoMA PS1, New Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and The Shed.
Ed Halter is a critic and curator living in New York City, and a founder and director of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York. His publications include From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games (2006), Mass Effect: Art and the Internet in the 21st Century (2015, with Lauren Cornell), From the Third Eye: The Evergreen Review Film Reader (2018, with Barney Rosset).
Kwami Coleman is a musician, composer, producer, and musicologist specializing in improvised music. His research interests include experimental music history, jazz history, black music and the African Diaspora, the political economy of music, music technology, aesthetics, and cultural studies. Coleman is an assistant professor of music at the Gallatin School of New York University, and lives in New York City.
Johann Diedrick artist, engineer, and musician that makes installations, performances, and sculptures for experiencing the world through sonic encounter. He surfaces resonant histories of past interactions inscribed in material and embedded in space, peeling back vibratory layers to reveal hidden memories and untold stories. He shares his tools and techniques through listening tours, workshops, and open-source hardware/software, proposing new sonic possibilities off the grid.
Louis Chude-Sokei's work includes the award-winning, The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black on Black Minstrelsy and the African Diaspora, The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics, the acclaimed memoir, Floating in A Most Peculiar Way and the recent album AAI recorded with electronica legends, Mouse on Mars. He teaches at Boston University, directs the African American Studies Program, and edits the iconic journal, The Black Scholar. He is founder of the sonic art and archival project, Echolocution and co-curated Carnegie Hall's 2022 Festival of Afrofuturism.
Mahan Moalemi is researching a multiplicity of futurisms, past and present. With respect to the vicissitudes of globalization, he looks for the aesthetic registers of how time is reshaped, technically and conceptually, from one model of history to another. He is the co-editor of Ethnofuturisms (Merve Verlag, 2018) and currently pursues a PhD in Film & Visual Studies at Harvard University.
Mimi Bai is an interdisciplinary artist born in Xi’an, China, and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her practice encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation, and film. Using the imagery of ghosts and camouflage, her work engages with ideas of labor, assimilation, invisibility/hyper-visibility, and survival as lived reality and fantasy.
Miya Masaoka is a composer, sound artist and performer. Her work explores bodily perception of vibration, movement and time while foregrounding complex timbre relationships. She has created a body of work that encompasses interdisciplinary sound art, hybrid acoustic/electronic performance, improvisation, music composition, research, sound installations, listening, and interactive media. She creates instruments, three-dimensional scores, wearable computing, and sonifies the behavior of plants.
Negarra Kudumu is an interlocutrice working at the intersection of art and healing with a focus on contemporary art from the Pacific Northwest, Africa, South Asia, and their respective diasporas. She is a priestess in the Brama Con Brama lineage of Palo Monte; a lay person in the Pimienta lineage of Lukumi; a practitioner of Muerterismo, Espiritismo Cruzado, Conjure, and alevel II Reiki practitioner. She resides in Seattle, WA where she focuses on client facing work in art and healing as a coach, teacher, content producer, contemporary art curator, independent scholar, and healer.
The Otolith Group
The Otolith Group was founded in 2002. Its work is research-based and spans the moving image, audio, performance, installation, and curation. The Otolith Group incorporates filmmaking and post-lens-based essayistic aesthetics that explore the temporal anomalies, anthropic inversions, and synthetic alienation of the posthuman, the inhuman, the non-human, and the complexity of the environmental conditions of life we all face.
Pedro Neves Marques
Pedro Neves Marques (they/them) is an artist, film director, and writer. Influenced by anthropology and feminist and queer historians of science, their work highlights the clash between disputing images of nature, technology and gender, with science fiction and speculative writing being key to imagining other futures. They have recently received the Ammodo Tiger Short Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, They co-founded the poetry press Pântano Books in 2020.
Sam B. Jones
Sam B. Jones is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker working in narrative, documentary, and hybrid forms. He’s directed films and music videos for artists such as Josh Kline, Yung Jake, and DonChristian. His debut feature film 'Red, White & Wasted' (Tribeca 2019) is an observational documentary exploring race, politics, and class in America by following a Florida family obsessed with the off-road truck subculture of "mudding."
Zain Alam (Humeysha) is an artist and musician of Indian-Pakistani origin based in Brooklyn, NY. Described as “a unique intersection, merging the cinematic formality of Bollywood and geometric repetition of Islamic art,” Alam’s recording project Humeysha began while working as an oral historian for the 1947 Partition Archive. Alam’s practice extends his sonic vision into video, performance, and writing; a project in translation using contemporary pop forms, found sound, and oral history.
Zeena Parkins is an American composer and multi-instrumentalist active in experimental, free improvised, contemporary classical, and avant-jazz music; she is known for having "reinvented the harp". Parkins performs on standard harps, several custom electric harps, piano, and accordion.