Brandon LaBelle

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Dreams of a Sovereign Citizen

developed as part of Synsmaskin, artistic research project

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Jerusalem / The Fire Seminar (recordings from the black and blue archive)  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mamuta Art and Media Center, Hansen House
Gedaliahu Alon 14
Jerusalem, Israel

Staged as a collective listening session, The Fire Seminar takes place in the back garden of the Hansen House and is centered on the building of a fire. Utilizing a modified oil drum along with prepared and found materials, the Seminar is a performative situation aimed at reflecting upon states of dispossession and creative survival.

Guiding The Fire Seminar will be the playback of a collection of audio recordings and documents culled from the Black and Blue Archive and amplified through a sound system. From Blind Willie McTell and Ella Fitzgerald to Memphis Slim and Louis Armstrong, the project of the Blues can be heard as an audible catalogue of the beaten, the forlorn, the loving and the resilient, forming a rich and complex narrative of lyrical redemption and threadbare celebration. As Fred Moten suggests, the black poetic tradition is one of deep resourcefulness and creative improvisation, which mobilizes the logic of loss toward new states of self-possession and collective determination (which we may find in the legacy of the Black Struggle in Jerusalem). By punctuating the night with a blaze of fire, The Seminar draws out the Blues as a particular audibility, one flushed with traditions of oral culture, musical soul and sonic intensity, and that may compel a passionate politics.