Work by HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? will be screened in the second floor Film & Video Gallery, March 7–9. View the calendar for more information.
HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? is an evolving collective of multi-disciplinary artists of the African diaspora who have lived and worked together, in various iterations, over the past twenty years. The name, which spells out “How Do You Say Yam in African?” plays on the fact that the yam is a common root in various African cuisines and that, of course, there is no such language as “African”—an irony the collective’s members embrace.
For the 2014 Biennial, they present a multipart film that reimagines the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by a ‘blackness’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto (written by poet Dawn Lundy Martin) continually goes back to this question, exploring the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent.
The narrative of the opera is abstracted, ultimately extending into an imagined future in which the self is not a static entity, but rather dissolves into ever-evolving multiplicities that resist a single, label. This dissolution of self is reflected in the original music recorded in the collective’s studio and in the highly layered, sculptural sets located in and around New York City, each of which reflect projections of the sets used in other sections of the film in order to create a confusion of linear time and space.
Academy Records and Matt Hanner
Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez
Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna
Paravel, and Sensory Ethnography Lab
Critical Practices Inc.
Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst
Radamés “Juni” Figueroa
Gaylen Gerber with David Hammons,
Sherrie Levine, and Trevor Shimizu
Tony Greene curated by Richard
Hawkins and Catherine Opie
Yve Laris Cohen
My Barbarian (Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon
and Alexandro Segade)
Sara Greenberger Rafferty
Steve Reinke with Jessie Mott
Valerie Snobeck and Catherine Sullivan
Charline von Heyl
David Foster Wallace