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Claire Tancons: Look for Me All Around You - Aporia and Diaspora
Claire Tancons: Look for Me All Around You - Aporia and Diaspora
WhenMonday, Oct. 22, 2018, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Campus locationArt Building (ART)
Campus roomJacob Lawrence Gallery (JLG 25)
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsThe Black Embodiments Studio, The Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities

Marcus Garvey’s incantatory words to “Look for me all around you, look for me in the whirlwind” (1925) as he faced incarceration in Atlanta following the failure of the Black Star Line continue to resonate across the African diaspora almost a century later. Or do they? Of what use is the recuperation of Marcus Garvey’s politics of the Return as possible reparation for the forcible removal of African populations from the African continent. How do contemporary scholars—Adam Ewing, The Age of Garvey (2014)—and artists—Tracey Rose, The Good Ship Jesus vs the Black Star Line hitching a ride with Die Alabama (2017)—find a path back towards Garveyites global and racial politics at this time of heightened anti-black sentiment and how might historical discourse and artistic practice provide avenues for divesting from the hate?

Taking her upcoming eponymous curatorial platform for Sharjah Biennial 14 (March 2019) as a starting point, curator and scholar Claire Tancons brings Indian Ocean epistemologies to bear onto a primarily Afro-Atlantic diasporic discourse while introducing ideas from a few of the biennial’s new commissioned projects. Together, these projects by artists such as Rose, Leo Asemota, Jace Clayton, Peter Friedl, Meshac Gaba, and Isabel Lewis, Carlos Martiel, Mohau Modisakeng and Caecilia Tripp propose different tracks onto which to embark in the ever political task of embodying blackness through enfleshment—through the body—movement—with the people—and materialism—from matter—all the while attending to the global concerns of the cosmo-ecological, the techno-sensorial and the museo-imaginal.

By bringing together a global outlook onto the cultural conditions and artistic manifestations generated by a concern with the African diaspora at large whose experience all too often functions as a litmus test for global developments to follow, Tancons proposes a that processes of diasporisation are always already alternatively dispossessive and repossessive and, as such, reveal the aporetic dimension of the contemporary.

Trained as a curator and art historian, Claire Tancons practices curating as an expanded creative field and experiments with the political aesthetics of walking, marching, second lining, masquerading and parading in participatory processional performances. She has curated for established and emerging international biennials including Prospect New Orleans (2008); the Gwangju Biennale (2008); the Cape Town Biennial (2009); Biennale Bénin (2012); the Göteborg Biennial (2013); the first biennial edition of Printemps de Septembre (2016); Tout-Monde, Caribbean Contemporary Arts Festival, Miami (2018-2019), and was a guest curator for the BMW Tate Live Series at Tate Modern (2014). She is currently a curator for Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber (with Zoe Butt and Omar Kholeif), slated to open in 2019.

Since 2012, she has initiated a series of collaborations tackling different aspects of public ceremonial culture, civic rituals, carnival and processional performance including Far Festa: Nuove Feste Veneziane, about contemporary civic rituals inspired by the former Venetian Republic (with curatorial collective CAKE AWAY; IUAV University and Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, summer 2013), Public Practice, about New Orleans’ processional culture (with Delaney Martin; New Orleans Airlift, Fall 2014), Tide by Side, about processional performance’s ability to provide a framework for celebrating and reflecting on community (with the opening ceremony of Faena Forum Miami Beach, 2016), and EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (with Krista Thompson; CAC New Orleans, 2014-15 and ICI New York 2016-18).
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