the remains of race: interrupting aesthetics/blackness/postcolonial mourning

Forthcoming talk:

‘Sediments and Arrhythmias: race, sense and sensation’ Seminar – The Remains of Race: Interrupting Aesthetics/Blackness/Postcolonial Mourning

Mar 01, 2017 05:00 PM

Location: IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL

The Remains of Race Image

We are pleased to welcome Ashwani Sharma to the Institute of Advanced Studies for this ‘Sediments and Arrhythmias: race, sense and sensation’ Seminar on The Remains of Race: Interrupting Aesthetics/Blackness/Postcolonial Mourning.


All this is certainly both an old and yet a new horizon for thought – immanence as both limit and becoming – here understood from that atopic non-place far beyond the thought of death as a form otherwise than being. – Nahum Chandler

Ashes or cinders are obviously traces…‘cinder’ renders better what I meant to say with the name of trace, namely, something that remains without remaining, which is neither present, nor absent, which destroys itself, which is totally consumed, which is a remainder without remainder. That is, something which is not. – Jacques Derrida

Archives, memories, ghosts, ruins have been privileged concepts in the theoretical practice of contemporary global art and screen media. This talk interrogates temporality, subjectivity and black/postcolonial aesthetics in the present moment of urban and geo-political crisis, with a focus on loss, finitude and death. By examining specific post-conceptual audio-visual forms – the music video, essay film and quotidian photography – the cultural politics of memory, mourning, tragedy and history are readdressed.

The talk speculates on the ‘remains of race’, of surviving, living on, resisting in the contemporary for post-slavery blackness and utopian futurity, and postcolonial, planetary justice ‘yet-to-come’. The aesthetics and ethics of everyday social life, the autobiographical, diaspora and the ‘end of the world’ are traced beyond the traumas of the onto-theology of Eurocentric modernity and gendered racial being.

This perhaps romantic project invites (self)reflections on the (im)possibility of aesthetic critique and education, fugitive black thought and post/de/colonial criticism in a time of institutional erasures, neoliberal biopolitical violence and digital info-capitalism.

Ashwani Sharma is a Principal Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of East London (UEL), and a member of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at UEL. He teaches, researches and has published in the areas of race, postcolonialism, visual, urban, digital and popular culture. He is completing a book on race and contemporary visual culture, and is an editor of Dis-Orienting Rhythms: The Politics of the New Asian Dance Music. Ash is the founding co-editor of the journal darkmatter www.darkmatter101.org, where he has edited numerous issues including on ‘Post-Racial Imaginaries’ and ‘The Wire.’ He is a member of the Black Study Group (London).


Within the current conjuncture of global capitalism, how are “blackness”, “brownness” and racial otherness more broadly, produced, disseminated and received across sonic, visual and textual media? How has “race” as a system of analysis been reconfigured to adequately provide a grammar for these changes? In what ways are modalities of racial otherness understood as experiential categories, cultural aesthetics, intellectual practices or sites of politics in the early twenty-first century?

The “Sediments and Arrhythmias: race, sense, sensation” seminar series at the Institute of Advanced Studies will address questions of racial difference, aesthetic mediation, haptical experience and critical reflection as they shape the spheres of intellectual, cultural and artistic production by Black and Non-black people of colour in the Global North. Using the epistemologically unstable yet highly productive intersections of optics, text, sound, thought, gesture and more, the aim of “Sediments and Arrhythmias” is to speculate on the ontologies of racial otherness as they animate and disrupt many of the affective, fleshy, social and political experiences of the world. The seminar series will be built around presentations and conversations with thinkers and artists who share a common interest in mapping out the sensory valences of racial capitalism in its current form.

Future Dates: 22 March / 26 April* / 24 May / 28 June (all dates listed fall on Wednesdays)

Time: 5pm – 7pm

Location: Institute of Advanced Studies Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, except those marked with an asterisk (*), which will take place in Seminar Room 11, First Floor, South Wing

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This entry was posted in Aesthetics, Black Art, Postcolonial, Race, Visual arts. Bookmark the permalink.

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