The lyric “I no longer trust the human race / I need you to hear me” coos over glitchy, ambient hip-hop as shirtless black men in minstrelesque gold masks confront the camera pointed at them. The video cuts to a man outfitted in a plumaged full-length jacket walking through the forest towards a pond. Later, another man stands with a patchwork quilt in the middle of the field, blanketing himself from sight. The serene, cerebral, and challenging six-minute short, “Moonrising,” is the latest from acclaimed filmmaker Terence Nance and interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, and it joins five other works of new media, video art, and experimental narrative from emerging black artists in Black Radical Imagination.
Curated by Erin Christovale and Amir George, and brought to the Museum of Fine Arts largely by the efforts of Ximena Izquierdo Ugaz of SWEETY’S, the traveling series takes it’s name from the book by scholar and academic Robin D.G. Kelley, Freedom Dreams: The Black Imagination. “The book is a summary of all of these movements that have happened predominately in black America around freedom,” Christovale explains on the phone from Los Angeles. “The idea is that before we could even create or come together for these movements, we had to use our imagination to conjure these ideas.”
Christovale and George approach these concepts cinematically; each work, which all embrace surrealist and futurist aesthetics, focuses on new stories in the African diaspora using new technologies and experimental techniques to reimagine and take control of black representation in film.
“The linear structure has always kind of been a deterrent for people of color to express their stories. It’s a structure that’s been indoctrinated by the entertainment industry,” says Christovale. “Part of making this program was to oppose that, and the stereotypes we’re constantly boxed in, and the lack of ownership we have of over our identities on screen.”
BLACK RADICAL IMAGINATION PRE-PARTY. SWEETY’S, SAT 10.11 AT 10PM. VISIT THE EVENT PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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