Join curator, writer, artist Legacy Russell in a discussion on the construct, culture, and material of the “meme” as mapped to black visual culture from 1900 to present day. Using archival media Russell will explore the impact of blackness, black life, and black social death on contemporary conceptions of virality borne in the age of the Internet. Before the lecture, Russell will screen her video essay BLACK MEME (2020).

BLACK MEME (2020) is, in the words of the artist, a “video essay” in an interactive digital space, which explores questions of black visual culture from 1900 to the present day. Through archival media and found footage, Russell explores the construction, culture and material of the “meme” and it’s relationship to blackness, black life, and black social death.

“Memes are not neutral. The labor enacted through black meme culture raises questions about subjectivity, personhood, and the ever-complicated fault lines of race, class, and gender performed both on- and offline. I want to talk about the economy and engine of this and perhaps push further a discussion about how we can hold ourselves accountable to how this material is produced and circulated.”

This workshop was live streamed via Zoom.
Watch a recording here.
View the chat transcript here.

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, writer, and cultural programmer. He is the Co-Founder of Discrit and a Graduate Student in the History of Art at Williams College. 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. His writing and creative work often examine how modernity’s crises disassemble and re-constitute notions of personhood. Recurring subjects of interest include techno-spirituality, post-human cosmologies, lifestyle minimalism, animism, and the digital’s relation to the afterlife. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013.

Legacy Russell

Legacy Russell is a curator, writer, and artist. Born and raised in New York City, she is the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Recent exhibitions include Projects 110 : Michael Armitage, organized with Thelma Golden and The Studio Museum in Harlem at MoMA (2019); Dozie Kanu : Function (2019); Radical Reading Room (2019) at The Studio Museum in Harlem; and MOOD : Studio Museum Artists in Residence 2018-19 (2019) at MoMA PS1. Russell’s ongoing academic work and research focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, internet idolatry, and new media ritual. She is the recipient of the Thoma Foundation 2019 Arts Writing Award in Digital Art and a 2020 Rauschenberg Residency Fellow. Her first book, Glitch Feminism, is forthcoming from Verso Books in Fall 2020.


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