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Stuart Hall Library Research Network 2017: Virtualities

30 Mar-31 Dec 2017

Decolonial potentialities, from Afro- Asia- and Sino-Futurisms to LGBTQ+ rights in the ghost empire

Gary Zhexi Zhang, The Kernel Process

This season of the Stuart Hall Research Network, selected from an open call for presentations of recent artistic or activist research, revolves around the theme of Virtualities.

The series broadly explores the thesis that contemporary art may produce the conditions for decolonisation, which relate to virtuality in the Deleuzian sense of an emergent potentiality.

Audio recordings are available to listen to on most of the event web pages (follow the links from each event title).

Iniva Public Programme

at the Stuart Hall Library, Rivington Place

March 30 2017: Decolonial Aesthetics

A conversation between South and diasporic women sharing their specific experiences and practices: Simmi Dullay‘s visual and intellectual practice embodied in Black Consciousness radical feminist praxis and Oana Pârvan‘s work around political theory and practice, chaired by Gitanjali Pyndiah, who brings her research on residues of colonisation in the postcolony to the exchange.


May 25 2017: aPOCalypso

Afrofuturism has reached a functional and conceptual obsolescence, requiring the development of a new terminology to describe emergent speculative, futurist and technocultural Afro-diasporic aesthetics, from Europe and the Caribbean as well as the USA.

How do we begin to describe a Black future that encompasses a greater diversity of diasporic influence and reference, as a means of decolonising the future imaginary?

Artist Sonya Dyer proposes the term aPOCalypso.


June 29 2017: Erotics of the Interface

Gary Zhexi Zhang presents research from his current project, Erotics of the Interface, which explores the emergent politics of distributed systems, including national internets, networked sex, and biological swarms.

As we enter further into socio-technological networks, notions of human agency run up against accident and emergence. Complex behaviours form through simple, individual interactions — a state wholly unknown to the sum of its parts.

With respondent, Professor of New Media Art, Beryl Graham.


July 27 2017: Forces at Work

Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo introduces Unmaterialised, an archive that explores ancient sound practices to blur the lines between fact and fiction, which will unravel the narratives that form today’s society.

Sitting on the crux of political-sciences (humanities), social-fiction (fiction) & Historical-futurism (time travel), Unmaterialised confronts the negotiated rational bubbles we as individuals construct, with an intention to place doubt as a means to instigate an investigation.

With respondent Bernadette Buckley, Lecturer in International Politics at Goldsmiths College, London.


September 28 2017: Carbon Rifts

The artist duo FRAUD lead a performance-led inquiry into the multiple layers of power and violence that flow through physical and cultural spaces.

Carbon Rifts investigates the genealogy of inner colonisation embedded in the collusion between carbon trading and industrial forestry, with a focus on the impacts on northern indigenous knowledge systems and traditional land and water uses. This programme is generously supported by the British Council, the Helsinki Artist International Programme, the Canada Art Council for the Arts, and Aalto University.

With respondent Shela Sheikh, Convenor of MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy at Goldsmiths College.


November 02 2017: Ghost Empire

Filmmaker Susan Thomson’s trilogy Ghost Empire explores the impact of British colonialism on LGBT legislation across the globe.

Currently half of the countries which criminalize homosexuality use British colonial laws from the 19th and early 20th century. The films explore the lingering of a ghost empire, which continues its rule across several nations. While the films deal with various colonial legacies, they also reflect on a wider question of time and the unusual time zones created by the existence of old laws within a contemporary setting.

The trilogy of films follows the legal challenges to these laws happening in three different continents, focusing on Northern Cyprus, Singapore and Belize. Thomson introduces the trilogy and then screens Ghost Empire § Cyprus in its entirety, followed by a Q&A with respondent, artist and educator Sunil Gupta.


November 23 2017: Predictions, Projections and Speculations

A night of performances with artist Ebony Francis and duo Alexandrina Hemsley & Seke Chimuntenwende, exploring and destabilising Afrofuturist explorations of time in order to provoke critical questions around existence, identity and erasure.

Ebony Francis presents new performance, “Consuming My Way To The Black Future With My Afro Intact”. Hemsley & Chimuntenwende present Age of the Forgetful Galaxies, reading from their text in development for new work, Black Holes.


January 25 2018: New Eastenders, the Prequel

This lecture performance by Anahita Razmi considers and broods on the launch and structure of a non-existent “coming to your living room soon” soap opera, titled “New Eastenders”, and some of its possible and multi-referential preconditions.

Referring to the long-running British BBC soap opera “Eastenders”, set in London’s East End, the “New Eastenders” are proposing a geographical shift, considering the “Global East” – with its unclear definition – as the series’ new quixotic setting. The Near East- ‘Middle East’- Far East-Enders make the cast of the series, drafting a shifted storyboard for an ‘East and its End’.

With respondent Dr. Anamik Saha, Goldsmiths’ MA Race, Media and Social Justice co-convenor.


February 08 2018: DREPM THE WOELD

The Shanzhai Lyric is a body of research focusing on radical logistics and linguistics through the prism of technological aberration and nonofficial cultures. This inquiry into the glossolalic and supra-sensical text that often appears on counterfeit (Shanzhai) clothing looks at how the distorted rhetoric of fashion and branding uses mimicry, hybridity, and permutation to revel in and reveal the artifice of global hierarchies. Real and ideal collapse in a lateral logic that generates new forms of agency among unlikely collaborators. Speaking at the seams of production, this work contributes to a post-colonial discourse surrounding the strategic use of language as a mode of resistance. How might new fabrics of relation be woven from the detritus of consumerism?

In this poetry-lecture Ming Lin and Alexandra Tatarsky share research from their ongoing inquiry into the global phenomenon they call the Shanzhai Lyric. Visitors may also peruse a series of library interventions and grey market items on display.

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