By Nana Adusei-Poku
The curatorial framing of this discursive platform represents an inquiry into Black diasporic cultural productions as a critique on hegemonic Western concepts of identity. With artistic positions on, embodiment, performativity and decolonization by Nana Adusei-Poku, Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Travis Alabanza, Ain Bailey, Melissa Blanco Borelli, Jonathan González, NIC Kay, Autumn Knight, Okwui Okpokwasili, Peggy Piesche, Anta Helena Recke, Christina Sharpe, Sorryyoufeeluncomfortable and Julia Wissert.
Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.
James Baldwin, Faulkner and Desegregation, 1961
Racial profiling, police brutality against Black People and African Refugees that are left to die on the shores of the Mediterranean sea, the rise of populism, xenophobia and essentialist values show that the terrors of the past have long systemic reach into the present. Blackness seems to remain the 'fantasy in hold' for eternity – the ultimate embodied aporia whose freedom is a constant struggle. Whether through discussions of a life in the presence of Black death, about mental-health, creations of 'visibility through the invisible' or establishing hope as a discipline, Black Cultural productions devise contemporary emerging aesthetic strategies of resistance. Although, resistance here means also to exist.
The colonial matrix of power consisting of patriarchy and racism is a fragile, yet prevailing apparatus of domination that demands an intersectional approach in order to be dismantled and hence pushes questions of gender, race, sexualities and dis-abilities in the centre of this discursive plattform.
Decolonialism has become a trendy term, an often instrumentalised metaphor. The intimate work that has to take place on one's idea of self, which is necessary to bring about real changes is frequently disavowed. The real change is connected to the breaking apart of the world as we know it, an end to the way we think, interact, live through, understand and the practice to push beyond the binary.
"Performances of No-thingness" thus centres Black perspectives that challenge the hegemonic normative order. Performativity is utilized as an affective inquiry into the ways in which Black diasporic cultural productions confront, ignore and ludicrously lay bare the colonial condition and absurdity of hegemonic Western ideas of being. This forum proposes to enter Édouard Glissant's room of "imagination" with care, Fred Moten's "poetic sociology" with sensitivity, to give Christina Sharpe's "defense of the dead" inner space and to allow Che Gosset's suggestion of "blackness as nonperformance" as an end of one's own security.
"Performances of No-thingness" investigates cultural productions that fundamentally challenge us to rethink the way we are in the world through dance and sound performances, lectures, remastered workshops, city tours as well as intimate dialogues.