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RAP NEWSLETTER  //  No. 11  //  January 21, 2019


WHAT'S INSIDE


  • Featured RAP Events: Paul Robeson and Questionbridge
  • Calendar: Race Relay, K-Pop Radicalism?, and Female Incarceration 
  • Announcement: RAP receives three more years of continued funding!
  • Art On View: Hernandez, Pruitt, Ligon, Alekhuogie, Sabur, and more!
  • Books: USC Book RoundUp
We celebrate MLK Day with the eleventh edition of the RAP Newsletter, an occasional publication from RAP USC, an interdisciplinary collaborative funded by the Provost at the University of Southern California researching the intersection of race, arts, and placemaking. For more information about us visit the RAP Website and to submit newsletter items for inclusion email us. —The Editors


FEATURED RAP EVENTS


RAP EVENT
PAUL ROBESON: ARTIST AS ACTIVIST
SAT, FEB 23, 9:00 AM-noon
Location: CSU, 6569 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90044
Community Services Unlimited, one of our RAP seed grant partners, celebrates the opening of their new center and beautiful mural with a series of events, including a panel discussion with RAP faculty member Taj Robeson Frazier focusing on the legacy of Paul Robeson’s example of engaging in equitable arts and peacemaking work in an environment where race and racism are increasingly used to push political agendas.
RAP EVENT
RAP LESSONS: BRIDGING RACE, ARTS, AND PLACEMAKING
Exhibition Date: JAN 14 - FEB 28
Location: throughout Annenberg Hall, USC Campus
RAP faculty Suzanne Lacey and Taj Frazier, in conjunction with artist partners Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas, have installed a six-week video exhibition throughout Wallis Annenberg Hall, based on their influential work Question Bridge: Black Males, with performative and curricular interventions between schools and with community partners. Made possible with generous support from USC’s Visions and Voices program.


CALENDAR


SAT, FEB 2 @ 3PM // RADICAL/UN-RADICAL K-POP: A discussion with Fans, Scholars, and Artists
As a part of LACE’s K-Con@LACE event, Gyopo, in conjunction with the exhibition Take My Money / Take My Body, curated by Narei Choi and Nico Orozco-Valdivia, at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) have organized a panel with Patty Ahn, Olivia Campbell, Michelle Cho, and Christan Copeland (AKA Cecee) to discuss the political possibilities and limitations of Korean popular media, each approaching questions about radicality from different practices.

FRI, FEB 8 - SUN, FEB 10 // RACE RELAY: A MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTION ABOUT RACE RELATIONS
Race Relay, a multimedia project presented by the USC Price School as a Visions and Voices initiative, uses personal stories of racism to develop an interactive theatrical production with performances and community dialogues scheduled in February and March. Creative artists will present a live, dynamic performance that combines recollections of real experiences of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other communities with projected images from various media. Click for more info.

FRI, FEB 22 // THINKING GENDER 2019: FEMINISTS CONFRONTING THE CARCERAL STATE
The U.S. currently incarcerates nearly a third of all female prisoners in the world, and between 1977 and 2004, the number of women in US prisons increased by an unprecedented 757%. At Thinking Gender 2019: Feminists Confronting the Carceral State, emerging student scholars and activists will reckon with these issues through feminist and queer perspectives. Register here.


ANNOUNCEMENT


Three More Years!
We are delighted to announce that RAP USC has received three more years of continued funding from the Provost and the Price School of Public Policy. We appreciate this sign of support and encouragement for RAP and look forward to expanding and growing in the years ahead with our seed grant partners, such as this initiative between RAP faculty Annette Kim and Karen Mack, executive director of LA Commons.


ART ON VIEW



ROBERT PRUITT: DEVOTION

current - FEB 17
CAAM
Through drawing, sculpture, animation, and photography, Pruitt illuminates connections between spiritual traditions, fictional narratives, and technology and investigates how black identity can reside at the intersection of these arenas.


GLENN LIGON: UNTITLED (AMERICA)/DEBRIS FIELD/SYNECDOCHE/NOTES FOR A POEM ON THE THIRD WORLD
THRU FEB 17
REGEN PROJECTS
Glenn Ligon’s wide-ranging multimedia art practice encompasses painting, neon, photography, sculpture, print, installation, and video. Perhaps best known for his monochromatic and highly textured text paintings that draw their content from American history, popular culture, and literary works by writers such as James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Gertrude Stein, and Jean Genet, among others, his work explores issues of history, language, and cultural identity.


DAVID ALEKHUOGIE
TO LIVE & DIE IN LA

JAN 19 - MARCH 2
COMMONWEALTH AND COUNCIL
Sagging, with its brief history as a style associated with hip hop, gang culture, and black male masculinity, has been politicized and at times criminalized as a pretext for racist persecution. In the Pull-Up series, close-up photographs of the waist area become landscape inspired compositions. Alekhuogie’s photographs are ultimately portraits of his hometown of Los Angeles, embodying its deepest contradictions.


JAMILAH SABUR'S UN CHEMIN ESCARPÉ / A STEEP PATH

JAN 19 - MAY 5
HAMMER MUSEUM
A five-channel video installation featuring multidisciplinary artist Jamilah Sabur’s inner world, from a cricket field in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica to underwater geological features of the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The piece is inspired by geophysical data taken aboard the retired research vessel Vema and the geological term escarpment, referring to a steep slope formed from erosion. Overall, the project bridges ritualistic practice with digital technology, evoking questions related to navigation between the material world and the transcendental plane.


SEBASTIAN HERNANDEZ: HYPANTHIUM
JAN 24 - JAN 26
REDCAT
With sensuality, fierceness, and hints of wry humor, three performers synthesize a pseudo kinship of queer femme moving bodies in Los Angeles, while recognizing the intensity of a hegemonic project that tries to assimilate them. Named for the part of a rose that holds nectar, Hypanthium is an experimental collage of actions and movements grappling with notions of sisterhood, space, power, and survival amidst memories of ancestral trauma.


TAKE MY MONEY / TAKE MY BODY
JAN 3 - FEB 24
LACE
K-Pop is an entry point for a question about the promises of popular media within highly bureaucratic, surveilled, and macro-scaled communities such as corporations/nations. Whether a data-mining social platform, exploitative culture industry, or resurgent populist movement, these larger systems structure the very conditions in which we find our (best) selves, albeit at contentious costs and rapidly-inflating prices. Popular media is the emergent interface for such a transaction. What, then, can we make of the joyful feeling of being a willing subject, or one of many in a captive audience?


TIME IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME: EXPERIMENTAL FILM AND VIDEO FROM THE LA REBELLION AND TODAY
FEB 2 - SEPT 14
ART + PRACTICE
In the aftermath of the 1965 Watts Uprising, a group of Black diasporic students entered the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television as part of the University’s Ethno-Communications Initiative and became known as the Los Angeles School of Filmmakers or the LA Rebellion. This exhibition features some of their early short works from the late-1960s to the early-1980s.


FOCUS IRAN 3
JAN 27 - MAY 12
CRAFT AND FOLK ART MUSEUM
Organized in collaboration with Farhang Foundation, Focus Iran 3: Contemporary Photography and Video is the third iteration of a biennial series of juried exhibitions that feature photography and video works about Iran. The theme of Focus Iran 3 is perspectives on contemporary Iranian youth culture. Approximately 40 selected works will be displayed in a group exhibition.


BOOKS

USC BOOK ROUNDUP
In looking back at 2018 and some of the great books published in the context of Race, the Arts and Placemaking, we realized that three of them come from our own USC community! RAP PI Holly Willis shares some of those our faculty members have been discussing:

In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Annenberg assistant professor Safiya Umoja Noble explores what she calls “technological redlining,” finding a parallel between the exclusionary practices employed in real estate and banking to the discrimination embedded in computer code. Using a series of case studies, Noble demonstrates the constant misrepresentation and racial profiling of supposedly neutral search engines and asks us to think more carefully about the ways in which algorithms powerfully shape everyday life and perception.

In When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, an MFA student in the Roski School of Art and Design, and Asha Bandele offer a moving, personal account of poverty and terror in a life lived in a racist culture, as well as the framing of resistance through Black Lives Matter. Khan-Cullors writes, “I carry the memory of living under that terror – the terror of knowing that I, or any member of my family, could be killed with impunity – in my blood, in my bones, in every step I take.” She adds, “And yet I was called a terrorist.”

In her book Feminist in a Software Lab: Difference + Design, an account of founding and running a lab dedicated to reimagining the possibilities of academic scholarship, Tara McPherson, a professor in the School of Cinematic Arts, argues that a logic of modularity in computation allows questions of race to be elided. McPherson uses the notion of the lenticular lens to capture this obfuscation, writing, “Both the computer and the lenticular lens mediate images and objects, changing their relationship but frequently suppressing the process of relation, much like the divided departments of the contemporary university,” adding that “both code and covert racism work by sleight of hand, by hiding their particulars.”

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RAP is sponsored by the USC Office of the Provost Collaboration Fund.
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University of Southern California
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