In this new performative lecture (presented as a screen recording with audio), Dominican artist manuel arturo abreu heeds Suhail Malik’s call for an exit from contemporary art and its historicism. Part of this exit is realizing that abstraction is not European; abreu briefly discusses the long timeline of the abstract; a few examples like Muslim aniconism, West African polyrhythm and fractal pattern, Ethiopian medieval philosophy, et al; and the value of an interdisciplinary approach that understands abstraction not as sublimation away from the concrete / market / functionality, but as fundamental to mundane daily life, expression, and function. The germ of abstraction is the tongue itself: as an arbitrary linkage of sound and meaning, and as a way of articulating possible worlds, language is abstraction per excellence. From strange biological and physical constraints emerges the calculating potential of electric meat, i.e. the brain, and the history of human survival inextricably depends upon the reproduction of abstract culture which constantly constructs reality while wrestling with calculation, the “irrealis” or subjunctive, and the idea of “something more” than just surviving.

Also screening their piece hierophants, 2019, 8:16 mins, it involves family footage, road and field footage from DR and the Bronx, footage of artifacts in an underground cave in the DR, pentecostal WhatsApp memes from family and family friends, Swype sigils, the Bulerias compas, and documentation of a private exhibition in an ex-housemate’s room, installed from detritus they left to test how much spiritual trace was left in them.

This event was live streamed via Zoom. Watch the Q+A portion of the event here and check the description for links to the original artwork and lecture recordings.

Bios

Discrit

Discrit (“critical discourse” / “discourse critique”) is an initiative of public knowledge-sharing and discussion. Spanning lectures, seminar-style discussions, critiques, and screenings, Discrit provides the public with programming dedicated to explorations of contemporary art and culture and free, university-quality art education. Discrit is Joey Molina and Chris Fernald.

Joey Molina

Joey Molina is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar working between video, installation, and collage. Their work engages with visual culture as material, object, and ephemera. Molina’s research interests include horror films, queer theory, and new media. They received their BA from Georgia State University in 2013 and will be on track for their MA in Film and Video at Georgia State University in Fall 2020.

Chris Fernald

Chris Fernald is an artist, musician, and curator living in Atlanta. His work has been exhibited in group shows in New York and Mexico City, and his poetry and art criticism have seen publication in both Canada and the US.

Chris is currently at work on a pop music endeavor called Rem Reviere, a project examining the poetics of the post-human condition and ideas of techno-spirituality. He is also in the midst of writing Mal Air, a dystopian allegory of affective labor and networked experience set in recession-era Los Angeles, with artist Diandre Fuentes.

He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013.

manuel arturo abreu

manuel arturo abreu (b. 1991, Santo Domingo) is a poet and artist from the Bronx. They studied linguistics (BA Reed College 2014). abreu works in text, ephemeral sculpture, and what is at hand in a process of magical thinking with attention to ritual aspects of aesthetics. They are the author of two books of poetry and one book of critical art writing, the Oregon Book Awards Sarah Winnemucca creative nonfiction finalist Incalculable Loss (2018). Their writing has appeared at Rhizome, Art in America, CURA, The New Inquiry, Art Practical, SFMoMA Open Space, AQNB, etc. abreu also composes club-feasible worship music as Tabor Dark, with nine releases to date. They also co-founded and co-run home school, a free pop-up art school in Portland in its fifth year of curriculum. Recent solo and duo shows: Portland State University, Portland; Yaby, Madrid; the Art Gym, Portland; Open Signal, Portland; Institute for New Connotative Action, Seattle. Recent group shows: Superposition, LA; Veronica, Seattle; Felix Gaudlitz, Vienna; Critical Path, Sydney; Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC; NCAD Gallery, Dublin; online with Rhizome and the New Museum; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva. Recent curatorial: Yale Union, Portland; Center for Afrofuturist Studies, Iowa City; SOIL, Seattle; Paragon Gallery, Portland; old Pfizer Factory, Brooklyn; S1, Portland; AA|LA Gallery, LA; MoMA PS1, NYC.

Location

This event was live streamed via Zoom. Watch the Q+A portion of the event here and check the description for links to the original artwork and lecture recordings.


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