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Black Movement in Digital Spaces: Part 1

Screenshot 2023-02-08 at 12.24.09 PM.png
Screenshot 2023-02-08 at 12.24.09 PM.png

October 22, 2022, 2:00 – 6:00pm


About this event

Black Movement in Digital Spaces invites Black thinkers to collectively engage the key questions posed by rtist LaJuné Mcillian in her current Recess Session project Black Movement Pop Up Library which seeks to grow community through the use of performances, XR / VR experiences, workshops, conversations and tool making.

As a new media artist and creative technologist, LaJuné McMillian challenges the limitations of western technologies specifically in terms of how it may harm, isolate, place limitations on, and ignore the needs of Black people. This project centers the needs of Black folx and asks them to consider how they might operate in spaces not built for them--the same spaces built to control and surveil them. It asks if these tools can be reappropriated, and if so, what does that process look like?

Join us for a full day of programming featuring a mediation workshop and motion capture workshop, followed by a panel discussion. Full run-of-show below:

2-3 pm: Meditation with Jazmine Hayes

Through themes of spirituality, bonding rituals and transformation, Hayes conceptualizes safe spaces as a necessary strategy for passing on intergenerational imagery and narratives for a people whose histories are consistently erased, misrepresented and misinterpreted. This workshop will prepare participants to be in touch with their bodyminds and to imagine what kind of avatars and spaces that they may choose to inhabit in their imaginations, or to construct in virtual environments in the Motion Capture Workshops to follow.

3:30-4:25 pm: Understanding, Transforming, and Preserving Movement in Digital Spaces with LaJuné McMillian Part 1: Avatar Creation

In this workshop participants will learn about Extended Reality tools in relationship to race, gender, and culture. We will collectively explore issues of cultural representation and exploitation through readings and discussions, while also providing an introduction to motion capture, rigging and 3D environments. Core elements of the workshop integrate performance, extended reality, and physical computing to question access, control and representation.

In this iteration, we will learn how to work with Deepmotion, an online AI powered motion capture tool, as well as Ready Player Me, an online avatar creation tool. No prior experience to programming with these tools are needed. Instructions for how to sign-up for accounts online will be provided in the days leading up to the workshop.

5-6pm Conversation: “The Future of Black Libraries” with Asmaa Walton & Ola Ronke moderated by LaJuné McMillian

In February 2020 Walton established Black Art Library which is a collection of publications, exhibition catalogs and theoretical texts about Black art and visual culture intended to become a public archive in a permanent space in Detroit. Ronke is the founder of The Free Black Women’s Library, a social art project, interactive installation and book collection that celebrates the brilliance, diversity and imagination of Black women and Black non-binary authors. The Reading Room is now open, located in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, is a literary hub, creative co-working space and central location for the book collection and special events.

6:15 -7 pm Conversation: The Movement Portrait Process with RaFia Santana

RaFia Santana shares their experience participating in a movement portrait. This virtual conversation will include screening of videos from LaJuné’s collaboration with RaFia.

RaFia Santana is a Brooklyn-born multidisciplinary artist using animated graphics, self portraiture, and music performance to self-soothe, seek pleasure, and crack jokes throughout their experiences with mental illness, chronic fatigue, sensory overload, and everyday racial violenceShe performs her music against her animations projected onto her body and stage, using singing and rapping lyrics to bring her slogans to life.RaFia has exhibited their work at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, MoCADA, Tate Britain, the Museum of the Moving Image, and Times Square. They have been featured in Vogue, Teen Vogue, Paper Magazine, Cultured Magazine, VICE, and other leading publications.

The Black Movement Pop Up Library is part of Recess’s program, Session, which invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist's project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.