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WEEK 1 / WITH  XIOMARA SEBASTIÁN CASTRO NICULESCU︎︎︎︎

How Does It Feel to be Human?


Race, Transness, and the Ends of Performance




SEMINAR LEADER


Photograph by Aelita Parizek

[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: An artist stands on the cement floor of a gallery lit by bright natural daylight and surrounded by a large Louise Bourgeois bronze sculpture of a spider. We see her from the waist up. She is a light-skinned Latina trans woman, with a messy bun of black hair peeking out behind her head, and bleached tendrils of hair framing her face. She looks directly at the photographer through frameless eyeglasses and a black surgical face mask. She has several black and grey tattoos on both of her arms and wears a black, button up dress with spaghetti straps, as well as large gold hoop earrings and a thin gold chain around her neck. An old, brick exposed wall with a window is in the background, revealing a bright white light from outside.︎︎ ]


Xiomara Sebastián Castro Niculescu is a trans Latina writer, artist, and organizer from New York, by way of Ecuador and Romania. Her work considers the relation of her marked body to many others, through fleshiness, leaks, abjection, and other corporeal stagings beyond the hold of respectability. In her critical writing, she seeks to offer a “trans of color critique” through embodied strategies in performance work by racialized trans women artists from the 1970s to the present. Her performance work is reviewed in Artforum, and her edited book on personal ads is forthcoming from Pink Jacket press. She co-organizes the NYC Trans Oral History Project.





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[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A video thumbnail appears in the video player above. An image description of the thumbnail, which is a screenshot from the video itself, can be found on page two of the transcription file here. ︎ ]
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WEEK 2 / WITH  AMBER JAMILLA MUSSER︎︎︎

Black Origins of the Universe




SEMINAR LEADER

Photograph by Maureen Catbagan

[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A professor sits contentedly on a red couch against a brick exposed wall within a brightly lit room. She is looking forward in the direction of the camera. She is a Black light-skinned woman with short dark curly hair that is cropped at the sides of the head. She is wearing a light grey blazer over a black turtleneck and patterned pants. Her legs are crossed and her hands rest on her right thigh. She is wearing tortoise patterned glasses and wears a silver and black watch on her left wrist.︎︎ ]

Dr. Amber Jamilla Musser has published widely on race and critical theory, queer femininities and race, race and sexuality, and queer of color critique. She has an MSt in Women's Studies from Oxford University and received her PhD in History of Science from Harvard University. She has held fellowships at New York University's Draper Program in Gender Studies and Brown University's Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women. Her research has been supported by grants from the Ruth Landes Memorial Fellowship and the Arts Writers’ Grant from the Warhol Foundation. She previously taught gender studies at New York University and Washington University in St. Louis. She also writes art criticism for The Brooklyn Rail. 

Her first monograph, Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism (NYU Press, 2014) uses masochism as a lens to theorize different felt relationships to power. The book beings together debates on masochism within feminism, discussions of masochism from psychoanalysis and critiques of colonialism, literary presentations of masochism, and performance and visual art that draws on masochism's repertoire in order to make an argument about the relationship between sensation and knowledge production and the racialization of our current episteme of sexuality. 

Working against the framing of black and brown bodies as sexualized, objectified, and abject, her second monograph, Sensual Excess: Queer Femininity and Brown Jouissance (NYU Press, 2018) turns toward sensation and aesthetics in order to imagine epistemologies of sensuality that emerge from fleshiness. The book offers multiple inroads into thinking with and through brown jouissance and the pornotrope. Using analyses of particular works of art, each chapter draws attention to specific aspects of pornotropic capture that black and brown bodies must negotiate. These technologies differ according to the nature of the encounters with white supremacy, but together, they add to our understanding of the ways that structures of domination produce violence and work to contain bodies and pleasures within certain legible parameters. In relation to this, the book also identifies and analyzes moments of brown jouissance that exceed these constraints. This move outward offers a way to think with the ways that aesthetic forms might rearrange knowledge by engaging differently with fleshiness and how we apprehend it. This is a three-pronged approach designed to help us understand brown jouissance as robust, political, and fleshy. In addition to containing critiques of normativity and proffering epistemologies of sensuality against those of sexuality, this project of minoritarian knowledge production is designed to enable one to sit with opacity and uncertainty. 

She is currently beginning a research project on noise.





[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A video thumbnail appears in the video player above. An image description of the thumbnail, which is a screenshot from the video itself, can be found on page two of the transcription file here. ︎ ]
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WEEK 3 / COOKING SHOW WITH GUEST RENATO VELARDE︎︎︎︎

One Pan Chicken Thighs with Apples





Recipe and photograph by Nicole of Heal Me Delicious︎︎︎︎



[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Six sautéed chicken thighs rest inside a cast iron skillet. Crispy on top, the chicken is surrounded by sliced apples and jus and is garnished with both sauteed and fresh thyme. The skillet rests on a bright marble countertop alongside a light grey dish towel. ︎︎ ]  


Photograph by Renato Velarde

[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Renato Velarde looks directly at the camera for a grainy black and white photo booth portrait. His mouth is wide open and his dark eyebrows arch upward. His eyes are filled with excitement behind the glare of his eyeglasses. Two fingers extended into a peace sign are visible in the bottom left corner of the image. He stands in front of a height chart. ︎︎ ]

Ren has been a media maker, animator and artist for at least 20 years. His home base is Chicago where he makes videos, props, and tinkers with toys and sculpture for animations. He enjoys gaming, cheese, and long walks on the beach. Check out his site at

lovelysurreal.com ︎︎︎︎

 





[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A video thumbnail appears in the video player above. An image description of the thumbnail, which is a screenshot from the video itself, can be found on page two of the transcription file here.︎ ].

COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW COOKING SHOW 
WEEK 4 / COOKING SHOW WITH GUEST ELIZABETH AXTMAN︎︎︎︎

‘Chocolate’ Plantain Chip Cookies 





Recipe and photograph by Nicole of Heal Me Delicious︎︎︎︎



[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Crushed plantain chips are spread over a coat of dark carob sauce. Together, they fill up half the circumference of round and crispy wafer-like carob cookies. The bare part of each cookie is a slightly lighter shade of carob than the part that has been dipped in carob sauce and plantain chips, Stray flecks of bright yellow plantain chips appear throughout the frame. The cookies rest on top of a bright marble countertop. ︎︎ ]  


Photograph by Elizabeth Axtman

[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Artist Elizabeth Axtman looks directly into the camera for a selfie-style portrait that partially depicts one of her paintings in the background. She is a Black light-skinned woman wearing bright red lipstick and two necklaces with delicate chains. One of the chains holds a gold heart charm and the other a gold charm that spells the surname “Axtman.” She wears a black scoop-neck sweater that exposes one shoulder and covers the other. Above her in the frame is the bottom third of one of the artist’s paintings—a self portrait. In partial view is a painted vagina dentata and a single painted fingernail on a pink background. ︎︎ ]

Elizabeth Axtman is a multidisciplinary artist who creates works on the complexities of race and humor. She received her BA from San Francisco State University in 2004 and completed her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. She was also a participant in the Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing in the 2006 Summer Residency Program. She has participated in exhibitions at the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago, The Studio Museum of Harlem, NYC, The Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Kunsthalle Gwangju, Republic of Korea, Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts Auckland, New Zealand, San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, San Francisco, and The Kitchen, NYC. She has lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of the African Diaspora, DePaul University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is a recipient of the Skowhegan Endowment for Scholarship Foundation, and Franklin Furnace Fund recipient in 2012. Her work has been reviewed in Art Forum, Art Papers, Houston Chronicle, and her video American Classics was used as the lead image for the catalog from the much acclaimed exhibition Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women and the Moving Image Since 1970.




[ IMAGE DESCRIPTION: A video thumbnail appears in the video player above. An image description of the thumbnail, which is a screenshot from the video itself, can be found on page two of the transcription file here.︎ ].