History, Memory, Media
May Joseph and Nicolas Premier
Friday, October 30
Register in advance for this meeting:
History is a media, a work in progress that is constantly being rewritten. Artists often employ personal biography in order to provoke comparisons to “official” histories and to challenge metanarratives through their own memory and experiences. May Joseph will read from her newly published ghosts of lumumba, a book of poetry written over a lifetime that reflects the ongoing influences from her upbringing as an Asian woman in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Nicolas Premier is a Franco-Congolese artist whose newest film, Africa is the Future, draws on over a century of popular vernacular images that, when viewed together, create a personal reflection of such charged and racialized images. Both artists draw on their own memories as a mechanism for rewriting and questioning history. The event will be moderated by Shelly Eversley, Interim Chair of Black and Latinx Studies at Baruch College, CUNY.
May Joseph is Founder of Harmattan Theater, Inc. an environmental theater company focusing on global water issues, based in New York City. She is Professor of Global Studies in the Department of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute, New York. Joseph has written widely on transnational cultural flows, and works on water ecology, global environmentalism, visual culture and critical ocean studies. She is the author of the ghosts of lumumba (Poetics Lab, 2020); Sealog: Indian Ocean to New York; Fluid New York: Cosmopolitan Urbanism and the Green Imagination (Duke University Press, 2013); Nomadic Identities: The Performance of Citizenship (Minnesota, 1999) and coeditor (with Jennifer Fink) of Performing Hybridity (Minnesota, 1999).
Nicolas Premier is a Franco-Congolese artist and musician living and working in Paris, France. His practice is located at the interfaces of art, academia, pop culture and marginalized cultures. Premier approaches media and materials in a transversal manner, be it videos, photos, music or archives. In his works, sound acts as both trigger and catalyst in his research sequences. Premier questions the construction of history from the perspective of non-thought and the subconscious, by exploring the imaginary, its role in the process of creating reality and their reflexive relationship. Premier considers the nature of Modernity from off-screen perspectives – those rooted in African and Afro-Diasporic experiences. He's particularly interested in bonds of mutual borrowings, fascinations and “dazzlings,” as Joseph Tonda understands them, that exist amongst and toward African diasporas.