Performance and "Blackness"
Lecture by Fred Moten
Fred Moten is a specialist in Afro-American art and culture (black studies), within the framework of which he mainly deals with issues from the field of performance, poetry and critical theories. The author of: “Arkansas” (Pressed Wafer Press, 2000), “Poems” (with Jim Behrle; Pressed Wafer Press, 2002), “In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition” (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), “I ran from it but was still in it” (Cusp Books, 2007), “Hughson’s Tavern” (Leon Works, 2008) and “B Jenkins” (Duke University Press, 2010). Lecturer on modern poetry at the Riverside University, USA.
By way of the path-breaking interventions of black feminist critics Hortense Spillers and Saidiya Hartman, this lecture seeks to establish an understanding of flesh, in its difference from the body, that will provide the basis not only for a theory of black performance but also for a theory of the irreducible force of blackness in performance.
Implied, here, is a distinction between blackness and the people who are called black. The lecture is predicated on two notions, which it will attempt to instantiate: that performance is a crucial element for any rigorous understanding of this distinction; that this distinction is a crucial element for any rigorous understanding of art in the modern world.