Reel Black: The Future of Black Aesthetics
Explore films that embody the possibilities of a cinema that’s visually the equivalent of the root of black music: the blue notes. Taught by Charles Mudede.
May 12, 2021
In his essay "Black Visual Intonation," the black American cultural theorist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa (he photographed Daughters of the Dust, Crooklyn, and parts of Eyes Wide Shut) wrote that he was "developing an idea that [he calls] Black visual intonation (BVI)." "What it consists of," he elaborated with great enthusiasm, "is the use of irregular, nontempered (nonmetronomic) camera rates and frame replication to prompt filmic movement to function in a manner that approximates Black vocal intonation." What Jafa hoped to create with these irregular camera techniques (irregular by Hollywood and European standards) is a type of cinema that would inspire what the editor of the book Black Popular Culture, Gina Dent, calls "black pleasure, black joy." In a word, Jafa wants to create nothing less than a cinema that is aesthetically black. This class exploys Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, Hype Williams’ Belly, and Beyonce’s Lemonade to explore the possibilities of a cinema that’s visually the equivalent of the root of black music, the blue notes.
Zoom meeting details will be emailed to ticket purchasers shortly before the scheduled event.