Black Metamorphosis

We found this art and listening experience from the BLUES exhibition at Baruch College’s Mishkin Gallery:  Black Metamorphosis is the first installment of an album trilogy inspired in part by Sylvia Wynter’s unpublished manuscript of the same title written in the 1970s.  You can learn more about the exhibition, now a virtual exhibition, on the Mishkin gallery’s blog.

BLUES. Installation view, 2020. Mishkin Gallery.

In this album, Lamin Fofana contemplates the complicated process of understanding each other, while also desiring to accelerate the breaking of the world so we can move beyond the constraints of our time and dream up new sets of relationships. Fofana’s overlapping interests in history and contemporary circumstances and practice of transmuting text into the affective medium of sound brought him to “Black Metamorphosis” and the wider project of Black Studies. “Black Metamorphosis: New Natives in a New World” is an unpublished 900-plus page manuscript which is arguably one of the most important and most compelling interpretations of the black experience in the Western hemisphere. Its is currently archived at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

What happens when black people find themselves in the West? What ways are African aesthetics forced to permutate, outside the margins and in the in-between spaces, and what transformative potential lies on the outskirts of normative existence, in the “liminal zones”?

Reflecting on the sonorous power of Sylvia Wynter, Black Metamorphosis is an attempt to transmute Fofana’s interpretation of a concept he finds deeply inspiring and illuminating of his own experience as a black African in contemporary Europe.