HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?

HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? is an international collective laboratory that utilizes music, film, sculptural installation, and contemporary dance and theatre to experiment with linear narratives in order to find alternate possibilities via abstraction.

Over the next three months, the Foundation will bring HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? collective members to the Northwest to join Seattle-based founding member Christa Bell and create new work, screen recent work, participate in exhibitions and lectures, and host a radical dance-in. The Foundation is proud to present this citywide program with partners identified in collaboration with HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? including: Town Hall, The Jacob Lawrence Gallery at UW, On the Boards, The University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, and Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

Exhibition   

Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera
The New Foundation Seattle
January 8 – March 28, 11-6 pm, Thursday-Saturday | Opening: January 8, 5-8 pm
Free and open to the public

The Foundation will host the West Coast premier of Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera, a 34-part film-poem that reinterprets the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by ‘a blackness,’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto, written by poet Dawn Lundy Martin and performed by collective members, explores the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent. The narrative of the opera is nonlinear, ultimately extending into an imagined future in which identities are evolving with multiplicity with resistance to simple labels.

The film was shot in multiple, highly-crafted film locations in and around New York City, Alaska, Washington D.C., California, Florida, Berlin, and Paris. Many of the film sets are comprised of sculptural installations and reflective surfaces, often with footage of previous sets projected frontally. This layering of sculptural form and imagery disrupts the possibility of a linear narrative and pushes the film toward abstraction. Good Stock, wants to decentralize representation as a way of knowing what cannot be known: “the black body.”

Film Running Time: 1:04:53

Screening and Discussion  

Race, Art, and Being Black
Town Hall Seattle
January 28, 7-9 pm
$5 | Purchase tickets HERE

Town Hall will present a cinematic screening of Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: An Opera and host a discussion on race, black bodies, and politics of the black aesthetic between HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? mentor Greg Tate and collective members Christa Bell, Dawn Lundy Martin, Nana Adusei-Poku, and Sienna Shields.

Exhibition  

Post-Speculation/wayblackmachine
The Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington School of Art + Design + Art History 
February 4 – 28 | Opening: February 3, 5-8 pm
Free and open to the public

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery will show HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?’s post-internet, collaborative work Post-Speculation/wayblackmachine. Inspired by the internet archive The Way Back Machine, the installation features memes, status updates, tweets, protests, and news footage that document the moment of #Ferguson, police brutality, state violence, and black embodiment.

Dance-In 

Last Night A DJ Gave Me Life: DJ as Revolutionary, Dance as a tool of liberation. #DanceIn #Ferguson
Hosted by: The Illustrious Blacks – Manchildblack and Monstah Black with special guest Ashley Brockington. Co-conceptualized with Christa Bell.
February 7, 9 pm
On the Boards
$10 | Purchase tickets HERE

Music, politics, healing: members of the HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? collective host a dance-in with DJs and hosts acting as guides in a physical journey through sound. Current media events will serve as inspiration to investigate tension and release, shed layers of injustice, and instigate healing.

Lecture 

Nebula Project Lecture Series: Mitch McEwen 
The Henry Art Gallery
February 12, 7-8 pm
Free and open to the public

UW’s Division of Art will present a public lecture by HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? collective member, SUPERFRONT founder, and principal of McEwen Studio, Mitch McEwen.