Reparations…Now, a work in progress, captures the terror of unnamable loss shouldered by today’s descendents of slaves. It is a documentary with an audio track consisting of interviews statements, and direct address from Blacks as they reflect on issues associated with the dilemma of slavery and its ramifications in the 20th/21st century. These interviews are cross-cut with still photography and swaths of the director’s monologue: segments from his memoir Incognegro, a book about the psychic and political wounds of a middle class Black family that descended from the White Castle Plantation in Louisiana (now an “historic site”: combination bed-and-breakfast resort). Reparations…Now is predicated on the argument that slavery did not end in 1865. The poetic argument of the film is that, even in the 21st century, the coherence of the world is still contingent upon by the necessity of Black enslavement. Anthony Harvey’s film Dutchman (1966) after Amiri Baraka’s often-quoted theater piece of the same title features the struggle for significance of being black in a world facing the impact of slavery, segregation and the linked violence. Taking into consideration ongoing police violence, the growing force of racism worldwide, and the work of counter movements like Black Lives Matter connections become visible between Dutchman and core issues of afro-pessimism.
Anthony Harvey, Dutchman, 1966, 55 min
Frank Wilderson, Reparations…Now, 2005, 23 min
Presented by Janine Jembere and Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, followed by a Q&A with Frank Wilderson
The event will be in English
Janine Jembere works in different constellations on performance and educational, video and sound projects. Her focus are senses and the body, mainly questioning concepts of representation/translatability, race and gender. She is interested in the resonances of embodied knowledge, sensual hierarchies and the concept of dissonance as a tool to think and live within difference.
Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński works with an interdisciplinary approach that combines Black feminist theory production with visual practice. She is interested in the past as present and Black radical imagination. Her PhD-in-Practice at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna focusses on the performativity of Blackness in relation to Austrian coloniality.
Frank B. Wilderson III is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at UC Irvine. He is also the Director of the Culture & Theory PhD Program. His books include, Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid; and Red, White, & Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms. In addition to being an activist and scholar, Wilderson is also a creative writer; he has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, The Maya Angelou Award for Best Fiction Portraying the Black Experience in America, the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award, The Eisner Prize for Creative Achievement of the Highest Order, The Judith Stronach Award for Poetry, and The American Book Award.