March 26, 2021

Living in Common in the Precarious South(s)

Vanderbilt University

Carrie Mae Weems. Banner. Courtesy of Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery.

Ibrahim Mahama. Photo: Peter Roseman. Courtesy of Apallazo Gallery.

alejandro.t.acierto (performance still), Logan Center Performance Playhouse at University of Chicago, 2020. Documentation: Ted Moore.

Contemporary Music Ensemble. Photo: Micayala Cochran.

Vanderbilt University is pleased to announce the spring 2021 schedule of the Engine for Art, Democracy, and Justice’s Program, "Living in Common in the Precarious South(s)," which since its launch last September has gathered significant attention from the international community of contemporary art. Founded by celebrated artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons, through her appointment as the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair and Professor of Fine Arts, the EADJ is a trans-institutional partnership involving Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, the Frist Art Museum, and Millions of Conversations. The EADJ is a platform for academic, creative, and social exploration that takes visual representation as a focus and forges radical alliances to develop new knowledge and new practices. It is a forum for diverse approaches to and inclusive discussion on cultural interconnections across disparate geographies, historical entanglements, and the role of art in creating a livable world. EADJ programming offers opportunities to engage with painful historical legacies and progress toward more just and democratic futures.

Curated by Marina Fokidis, founder and director of the journal South as a State of Mind and member of the core team of Documenta 14, “Living in Common in the Precarious South(s)” is comprised of a series of episodes that map complex and intimate connections between the planetary South and the Southern United States. It considers how we can build lasting community both locally and across distant geographies.

Renowned scholars, artists, and art professionals will gather together on the cloud throughout April for a diverse set of panel discussions, while a series of interventions will take place in Nashville to coincide with the online program, including a new major installation at historical Fisk University by Ghanaian artist, Ibrahim Mahama.

Webinars are free and open to all. Conversations are in English with simultaneous Spanish translation. Advanced registration is required. You will find registration links to each webinar in the program below.

Episodes 9 & 10: Black Notions: Afro-American Composer Julius Eastman
These episodes will consider the powerful legacy of revolutionary composer Julius Eastman and its impact on the postcolonial debate within music and visual arts.

Wednesday, April 7, 10am–12pm CST
Speakers: Molly Barth (performer and Associate Professor, Blair School of Music); Sumanth Gopinath (writer and Associate Professor of Music Theory, University of Minnesota); Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (artist, France and French Guiana); and Mary Jane Leach (composer/performer, New York)
Moderator: Joy H. Calico (Professor of Musicology, Blair School of Music)
Presentation of a sound performance, These Moments of Forever (when our proximities are tethered with time), by artist alejandro t. acierto (Assistant Professor of Digital Art and New Media, Vanderbilt University)

Wednesday, April 14, 8pm CST: livestreamed concert
The Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, co-chaired by professors Molly Barth and Ji Hye Jung, will perform two iterations of Julius Eastman’s Stay on It.

Episode 11: Public Art—as Network(s) Between Dispersed Geographies
This episode will focus on the importance of site-sensitive public art and the societal changes that this can trigger in the locality and beyond.

Wednesday, April 21, 10am–12pm CST: webinar
Speakers: Paul C. Taylor (W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy
Chair of the Philosophy Department, Vanderbilt University); Cecilia Alemani (Artistic Director of the upcoming 59th Venice Biennale, Director & Chief Curator of High Line Art, NY); Elvira Dyangani Ose (Director of the Showroom Gallery London); and Jamaal Sheats (Director and Curator of the Fisk University Galleries)
Moderator: Marina Fokidis
Screening: The making of Ibrahim Mahama’s new major art installation at Fisk University

Episode 12: On Pigmented Futures
The final episode will look into a future of contemporary art based on reparatory practices and racial justice.

Wednesday, April 28, 10am–12pm CST: webinar
Speakers: Diana Campbell Betancourt (artistic director of Samdani Foundation and Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh); Kimberly Drew (curator and writer); and artists Tabita Rezaire (French Guiana) and Christian Nyampeta (Rwanda-Netherlands)
Moderator: Marina Fokidis

Thank you!

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