Archiving the Future: Diasporic Blackness Then and Now

On the occasion of the closing of the first phase of the transatlantic project Christopher Paul Jordan and Arnaldo James. In the Interim: Ritual Ground for a Future Black Archive, artists and curator, their invited guests and members of the audience came together on May 7, 2022 for a discussion about the nuances of diasporic Blackness through their own individual and collective experiences as they relate to the making of a future Black archive.

Central to this discussion, as it is to the exhibition, was The Interim, a sound-proofed chamber into which visions and prefigurations of Black futures were invited to be recorded. Writer, artist, and performer Bettina Judd joined in from Seattle and scholar, educator and curator Marsha Pearce connected from Port-of-Spain to further query the artists' dispositives in light of their various diasporic affiliations from Washington State to the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. The discussion closed around further considerations of In the Interim in its planned second iteration in Port-of-Spain.


About the Presenters

Arnaldo James (born 1987, Port of Spain) works towards equity and prosperity, honoring the ingenuity and resilience of Black peoples in a world structure actively pursuing their exploitation. A graduate of the University of the West Indies and Cardiff Metropolitan University, James is a photographer, curator, graphic designer, and educator from Trinidad and Tobago. James’s photographic works have been exhibited within and outside the Caribbean. In 2017, James and Jordan brought a version of the Tacoma exhibition #COLORED2017 to Arima, Trinidad, renaming it Mission Black Satellite.

Christopher Paul Jordan (born 1990, Tacoma) integrates virtual and physical public space to form infrastructures for dialogue and self-determination in displaced communities. In collaboration with Tacoma Action Collective, Jordan launched the #StopErasingBlackPeople campaign combatting the erasure of African Americans from the history of the AIDS epidemic in the US. His sculpture andimgonnamisseverybody (2021) is a centerpiece for The AIDS Memorial Pathway, Seattle. Jordan’s awards and fellowships include the Artist Trust Fellowship, the Neddy Artist Award in painting, the Jon Imber Fellowship, and the GTCF Foundation of Art Award.

Bettina Judd is an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and performer whose research focus is on Black women's creative production and our use of visual art, literature, and music to develop feminist thought. Her current book manuscript argues that Black women’s creative production is feminist knowledge production produced by registers of affect she calls “feelin.” She is currently Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She has received fellowships from the Five Colleges, The Vermont Studio Center and the University of Maryland. Her poems and essays have appeared in Feminist Studies, Torch, Mythium, Meridians and other journals and anthologies. Her collection of poems titled patient. which tackles the history of medical experimentation on and display of Black women won the Black Lawrence Press Hudson Book Prize and was released in November of 2014. As a performer she has been invited to perform for audiences within the United States and internationally.

Marsha Pearce is a scholar, educator and curator based in Trinidad and Tobago. She holds a BA in visual arts and a PhD in cultural studies. Dr. Pearce is a lecturer and Visual Arts Unit coordinator in the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus. She has worked as the senior editor and art writer for ARC Caribbean Art and Culture Magazine and is a consulting art editor for Moko Caribbean Arts and Letters Magazine. She has also served on the board of the National Museum and Art Gallery of Trinidad and Tobago. Her research and critical writings about visual culture have been published in several art catalogues as well as peer-reviewed academic journals and books. Her public scholarship includes a collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery London and the British Council for the Americas IN Britain—Caribbean Edition online exhibition project, and her work with the Pérez Art Museum Miami to curate the group show The Other Side of Now: Foresight in Contemporary Caribbean Art. That exhibition is accompanied by an edited book of the same title. Her latest curatorial projects are Caribbean In/securities, a digital group exhibition commissioned by CARICUK (Creative Approaches to Race and In/Security in the Caribbean and UK), and No Words, a solo exhibition installed in Trinidad’s capital city. In the midst of this current pandemic, she led an artist conversation series titled Quarantine and Art.

Claire Tancons is a curator, writer, and researcher invested in the postcolonial politics of art production and exhibition. She publishes for and speaks at artistic and academic venues, as well as teaches; she was the inaugural Mellon Global Curatorial Professor at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (2020) and a Visiting Professor for the Curatorial Workshop at the School of Visual Art (2021). Notable curatorial projects include the Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award-winning traveling curatorial and editorial project EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (2015-2018), Up Hill Down Hall, Tate Modern (2014); Tide by Side, Faena Forum, Miami Beach (2016), and etcetera: a civic ritual, Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse (2017). Long based in New Orleans and recently settled in Paris, Tancons has curated for numerous biennials including those in New Orleans (2008-09); Gwangju (2008); Bénin (2012), Gothenburg (2013), and more recently Sharjah (2019). She is the recipient of grants and awards from the Prince Claus Fund; Foundation for Arts Initiatives and Andy Warhol Foundation among others and is the recipient of a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation grant for her book Roadworks: Processional Performance in the New Millennium currently underway.