BLACK QUEER MADNESS is/as FUGITIVITY
“I am free because I am a fugitive. I am a fugitive because I am not free.”
fu·gi·tive \ ˈfyü-jə-tiv\
1 : running away or intending flight
2 : moving from place to place
3 a : being of short duration
b : difficult to grasp or retain
c : likely to evaporate, deteriorate, change, fade, or disappear
4 : being of transient interest
BLACK QUEER MADENESS is/as FUGITIVITY is the second installation of a conceptual triptych and performance meditation on the technologies of surviving and thriving in the contemporary moment of multi-century global anti-Blackness and white supremacy.
The series debuted with the summer 2019 workshop performance of BLACK QUEER MADNESS as/is HYPERSANITY at Theatre Neumarkt [https://www.theaterneumarkt.ch] in Zurich, Switzerland at the international Schweizer Propagandakonferenz [Theatre and Propaganda] conference. [https://www.theaterneumarkt.ch/programm/schweizer-propagandakonferenz-spk-12-positionen-1-3]
The summer 2020 residency at Grace Exhibition Space [https://www.grace-exhibition-space.com] in New York City amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is a sociopoetic and orthographic exploration on the multiple definitions of FUGITIVE and how they each relate to the heightened understanding of Blackness and its endurance in the midst of never ending viral harms of casual, structural, systemic, epidemic and state-sponsored white supremacy.
The two-month life/art residency performance is three parts:
Through sharing space and community with current artist-in-residence Dee Dee Maucher [http://moscollective.net] , I will symbolically occupy the gallery basement as hull of the slave ship and as station in the underground railroad, simultaneously embodying cargo and contraband amidst the extreme economic uncertainty of this fugitive moment. Through symbiotic co-existence with Dee Dee’s environmental installation, I will adopt/adapt her “trade” of making bokashi balls as a personal ritual of documented free-form storytelling of my personal archive of trauma from the lifelong status of cargo/contraband through the eyes of non-Black global society. The intention is healing self and the water through the dual act of removing my personal poisons by spontaneous storytelling in the act of constructing the bokashi balls, and the subsequent ritual of tossing the balls into the polluted waterways that surround New York City.
“Music is the new cotton.”
~Don Edwards, New Orleans, 2019
I will also attempt to learn the djembe, an ancestral artifact of power, voice and tradition, frequently stolen and appropriated by colonizers and capitalists.
I will create an intentional free Black/fugitive community of 2-4 other fellow Black artist/activist/scholars at the Brooklyn location I’ve called home since March 2013. Formerly known as “The Penthouse,” for five years I successfully employed the structure of paid transient colonization through homesharing to afford my residence and bohemian travels abroad. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is permanently unsustainable and there is no adequate replacement income stream. Thus I am a fugitive at my impermanent residence. I will invite, screen and select others with a similar profile to embrace this economic uncertainty in community as a strike/squat until the state and landlord determine what aid and concessions will or will not be made.
A culminating virtual public performance/offering TBD will take place in late August towards the conclusion of the residency.
ANCESTRAL & CONTEMPORARY TEXTS:
- The Negro Act of 1740
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793
- The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850
- Combahee River Collective Statement
- The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study [Moten]
- In the Wake: On Blackness and Being [Sharpe]
- “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” [Spillers]