Tonight, as part of Montréal’s Nuit Blanche events, SBC Gallery is launching Talk Show, an exhibition and a series of actions, coming together to investigate how the future is produced and how this coming future relates to common struggles to embody the present.
Talk Show is focused on the art and politics of conversation. Organized by el instituto (Mexico City), the sequel expands on the original Talk Show (2012) and its exploration of the roles of the speech act, of the contested figure of the witness, and of testimonials in the constitution of the subject and the configuration of the political.
Talk Show launches SBC’s second Focus Program: Água Viva. This long-term research project emerges out of Clarice Lispector’s 1973 book of the same title and seeks to expand on SBC’s practice of living research: artists, writers, architects, musicians, curators and other cultural practitioners will be invited to think together and to develop projects through and around this extraordinary piece of prose. Dispensing with narrative while dwelling in the “secret harmony of disharmony,” the Focus Program, like Clarice’s Água Viva, seeks to pull at the threads that articulate shifting political subjectivities, modes of address and the complexities between “you” and “I.”
A series of live interviews, performances and talks will be held over the course of the Nuit Blanche evening, enacting on the art and politics of conversation. It’s coming together and confrontation as a certain kind of making. A full schedule of events can be found here.
Alongside these real-time enactments, the gallery will be filled with documents of past conversations, including the only recorded interview with Lispector, a stunning and strange document that betrays her reclusive tendencies while showing her to be irreverent as well.
Upon the invitation of SBC’s Director and Curator Pip Day, I have contributed one element to this constellation of historical materials: this conversation with James Baldwin. Speaking to Baldwin in March 1987, just eight months before his death, British television host Mavis Nicholson interviewed him as part of her afternoon show Mavis on Four. The raw and incomplete footage, which suddenly appeared online in November 2014, shows Nicholson to be a provocative if naïve interlocutor, asking frank questions about racialization, religion and sexuality, and Baldwin is an affable subject. And yet, the interview comes to be characterized by his consistent reframing the assumptions embedded in her prompts. In refusing what Nicholson calls “racial prejudice,” Baldwin refocuses agency upon the perpetrator, away from body of the person who must bear racism’s cruelty. It’s a profound point of departure from which to consider Lispector’s prompt from Água Viva: “The next instant, do I make it? or does it make itself?”
I will also be collaborating with Jackie Wang on a workshop in April. It is going to be amazing. More details soon…