Sunday, November 24, 2019

Venice 2019, Arthur Jafa Central Pavilion


"The White Album" is probably best explained in reaction to reaction of "Love is the Message, The Message is Death".

"This was sad bc of where it was. I was uncomfortable bc of the ppl sat around me, the number of white ppl laughing at black people that went viral like Sweet Brown, like that beginning intro of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is rly fucked up, it’s not funny, the whole intro is a joke at the expense of the black body and the tropes of speech that white society has marked as laughable. They were laughing at these bits that weren’t for them to laugh at, without reflection on their position as an audience, the fact they were laughing felt grotesque like, it wasn’t there for it to be funny, it was there as part of the stuff, the stuff popping up with all the other,, it made me tense. it felt violent n i haven’t rly got words to explain it very well [i feel like Aria Dean explains the feeling and more better in Poor Meme, Rich Meme; but also this essay on Black Trauma & the viral video from Buzzfeed] it was like… ok so this happened; i was sat behind two like hype beast skate bros wearing busted vans and dead Supreme caps n like… there was a moment in the film when Earl Sweatshirt pops up n they like elbowed each other got all gassed that they recognised him;;; but there was no like irony for them that 2 minutes before there was a clip of Amandla Stenberg saying “what if white america loved black people as much as it loves consuming black culture”. It felt all at once, simultaneously too much;; like both irresponsible and immediately radical to dump this raw and vulnerable film, this footage, this black twitter as archive, all this in the film there in that setting with no cushion. At the top of a London building on the Strand that had been transformed into like a Lisson Gallery greatest hits album underneath us. No explanation, no address really. It felt violent that certain ppl could potentially walk away having had that laugh, n nothing else. No really emotional connect, not feeling like a freshly picked scab// like i did. Not to say, ‘i had the right reaction, lol at these white plebs’;;; but like… if u don’t get it, maybe it isn’t for u? isn’t it radical and irresponsible also to speak in specificities, to be both marginalised and not try and speak to a majority, how beautiful, to revel in that complexity! It made me sad bc the people around me didn’t get it. i know they didn’t get it, fuck me, white ppl never do. it made me sad bc this film made me feel so fucking much, but tbh i shouldn’t feel sad. I had a beautiful, specific reaction even though this film wasn’t actually really for me either." - The White Pube

'I’m not making any more Love Is the Messages,” [Jafa] said in a phone interview from his home base, Los Angeles.
“I started to feel like I was giving people this sort of microwave epiphany about blackness and I started [feeling] very suspect about it. After so many ‘I cried. I crieds’, well, is that the measure of having processed it in a constructive way? I’m not sure it is."
The White Album’s tonal and visual proximities begin with The Pure and the Damned, the music video from Oneohtrix Point Never featuring Iggy Pop’s eerie poesy, from the 2017 film Good Time. “To me, I look at that video, I was like: this shit is definitely about whiteness,” Jafa said of the clip, which he stumbled upon on YouTube. “A lot of really white shit that white people don’t think is about whiteness, they just think it’s about the world.” - The Guardian