Moving on the Wires: Janelle Monae and the Black Camera


*At the Toronto Jazz Festival last week, Janelle Monae performed two new songs that might be on her upcoming album:

“Dorothy Dandridge Eyes’

“Electric Lady”

* Indiana University’s Black Camera, a film journal, is requesting papers for their fall 2013 special Afrosurrealism in film/video. This is the description of the issue:

In the conceptual space offered by Amiri Baraka’s notion of Afrosurreal expressionism, this special issue of Black Camera invites contributions that explore the experimental, absurd, and whimsical dimensions of black filmmaking. We seek to uncover avant-garde, experimental, or noncommercial motion pictures, artists, and publics throughout the African diaspora, particularly the Caribbean and Afro-Latin America. In no way prescriptive, this issue serves as a platform to redefine the genres of black film and of experimental film through comparing and situating them in the larger frame of surrealism’s other forms in music, literature, art, and theater as expressed in African diaspora cinemas.

While Afrosurrealist works may signify on magical or hallucinatory levels, their sense of heightened reality often arcs toward current or familiar political, cultural, and ethnic contexts and references. Experimental film/video refers to work that reflects the expansive use of surrealistic principles such as abstraction, animation, parody, symbolism, incongruous juxtapositions, disinterested play of thought, and/or direct manipulation of the film image, particularly by handcrafted or artisan techniques such as painting or scratching on the film. These films may seek to explore aspects of the unconscious, or they may approach reality through the lens of the fantastic through editing, unconventional use of sound, appropriation of found footage, or the use of film stock that is out of date, tinted, baked, or processed by unconventional means. Simultaneously, in Afrosurrealist film, the conventional opposition between the real and the imagined is displaced.

The editor is interested in essays that unpack the historical development, material conditions, or artistic/political claims or sensibilities of black experimental cinemas, possibly drawing upon interdisciplinary methods that reference music, dance, painting, photography, and theater or collaborations between filmmakers and artists who work in such fields.

The guest editor, Terri Francis, will also publish a book based on the collection of essays in 2014. To read the guidelines and to submit papers, click here.

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