Sunday, May 24
Join us for a listening session of three new electronic tracks by artist Lamin Fofana as featured in his New York debut exhibition BLUES at Mishkin Gallery (Baruch, CUNY). Fofana will be in conversation with writer and curator Serubiri Moses and the session will be moderated by BLUES curator and Mishkin Gallery director Alaina Claire Feldman. This event is produced in collaboration with Goethe-Institut NY.
You must RSVP for this event here:
Lamin Fofana is an electronic music producer and artist based in Berlin, Germany. Fofana’s music contrasts the reality of our world with what is beyond it, and explores questions of movement, migration, alienation, and belonging. Fofana’s overlapping interests in history and the present, and his practice of transmuting text into the affective medium of sound, manifests in multisensory live performances and installations featuring original music compositions, field recordings, and archival material. Fofana established the SCI-FI & FANTASY music imprint in 2012. Releases include Another World (2015); Brancusi Sculpting Beyonce (2018); and Black Metamorphosis (2019). Recent exhibitions and performances include Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany (2019); 57th Venice Biennale, Italy (2017); and Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece (2017).
Serubiri Moses is a writer and curator who lives in New York. He is co-curator of Greater New York 2020, MoMA PS1’s survey of contemporary art. Moses was part of the curatorial team for the Berlin Biennale X (2017-2018). From 2013 to 2017, he traveled extensively to participate in curatorial residencies, conferences, and juries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. In 2015, Moses held the position of “Stadtschreiber” at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, and in 2014 he co-curated the second public art biennial in Kampala, KLA ART, entitled Unmapped, and organized a four-volume public program at the Goethe Zentrum Kampala. Moses completed his Masters of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies at Bard College and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Art Department at Hunter College.
If Zoom does not work for you, you can watch the event live on the Goethe-Institut’s Facebook page:
Blues is the title of this exhibition, but it also shares a name with the forthcoming album by Lamin Fofana. And All the Birds Sing Bass, 2020 (15’35 mins), a track from that album, plays continuously throughout the center gallery off two, large standing speakers. This forthcoming album is inspired by Amiri Baraka’s ground-breaking Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963), published under Baraka’s former name LeRoi Jones in the midst of the civil rights movement. Baraka’s book is an influential meditation on blues music and its creators. It was his philosophical and personal response to outline the economic and political history of developments in African American music, as well as the erasure of its inventiveness. In his introduction to the book, Baraka describes his endeavor as:
“The path the slave took to ‘citizenship’ is what I want to look at. And I make my analogy through the slave citizen’s music — through the music that is most closely associated with him: blues and a later, but parallel development, jazz… [If] the Negro represents, or is symbolic of, something in and about the nature of American culture, this certainly should be revealed by his characteristic music.“
As a collection of voices of musicians shaped by the experiences of slavery, racism and poverty, Blues People takes a physical form in Fofana’s multi-sensory space through an atmosphere of sound, light and incense. Affectively, this prompts the listener to encounter and confront Baraka’s insistence on tracing back the genre, blues, to historicize black musical forms and aesthetics. Fofana designated this part of the exhibition to Baraka’s Blues People as a “calm reflection” on cultural production in an alien world of appropriated symbols. This part of the exhibition was designed as an open space that grounds the sound and light spilling from the two other rooms where Nicolas Premier’s videos are projected. This is not a transitional space connecting the other rooms in the gallery. It does not dictate where the exhibition or viewers should continue, but is rather a meeting point with a table of referential books and plants, inviting guests to linger and listen intently.
To learn more about one of the prominent referential materials for the exhibition and Baraka’s other written work, please visit: poetryfoundation.org
 LeRoi Jones, [Amiri Baraka], Blues People: Negro Music in White America (New York: Morrow, 1963), ix-xii
Literature and writing on art is core to the mission of Mishkin Gallery in that it helps to expand and deepen one’s understanding of the artworks on view. Every exhibition we produce is accompanied by a free booklet often including curatorial essays, interviews, reprints and more. For BLUES, we published hard copies of the booklet and are now sharing the digital version as well. We hope you will enjoy reading this edition.
“Unsettling the Blues” by Alaina Claire Feldman
“Oceanic Sound” Lamin Fofana and Dino Dinçer Sirin
Excerpts of texts selected by Lamin Fofana:
“Black Metamorphosis: A Prelude to Sylvia Wynter’s Theory of the Human” by Derek White
“Darkwater: Voices from Within the Veil” by W.E.B. Du Bois
“Blues People: Negro Music in White America” by Amiri Baraka
With images by Nicolas Premier and Jim C. Nedd
Download the booklet HERE.