6/8/18, in Palermo, Italy, I am presenting my paper "The Black Beach and the Sea," at The Black Mediterranean conference. In this paper I expand on my work at Black Portraitures: IV, which drew from the writings of Edouard Glissant to theorize the archipelago in relation to being, blackness, and the climate crises responsible for the proliferation of new diasporas, with particular attention to how Glissant’s caribbean-born thought intersects with work about the black mediterranean. In doing so, I move from land to sea, from thinking with the archipelago to thinking with the aquipelago. Such frameworks challenge the coherence of territorial perspectives and encourage the accountability of a world in nuanced relation and temporal entanglements. I explore how "the Sea" may serve as a cognitive space for this work, as a point and platform of observation - a haunted place, a place of contemplation, connection, and care.
ReSignifications: The Black Mediterranean is the ninth conference in a series of conversations about imaging the black body and its relevance to what is happening in the Mediterranean today. We received over 100 proposals that engaged in topics referencing activism, art, the global art market, politics, tourism, sites of memory, dance, music, film, and photography. At the backdrop to the conference will be the exhibition ReSignifications: European Blackamoors, Africana Readings, with the connected Wole Soyinka: Antiquities Across Times and Place. Collateral events of the MANIFESTA European Biennial of Contemporary Art, the exhibits will display the works of an array of international artists and the African art collection of Nigerian Nobel Prize for Literature Wole Soyinka, who will open the conference.
The conference is co-sponsored and held in collaboration with the University of Palermo, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Photography & Imaging, the City of Palermo, New York University’s LaPietra Dialogues, Institute for African American Affairs, and the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research/Harvard University.