Organized by Gabrielle Civil, Black Motion Pictures is a series of Zoom interviews with radical Black creatives about race, performance, and representation conducted between June 2–14, 2020. Spanning a broad range of topics—Black punk music, heritage sites, re-enactments, queer ancestors— the series continues with artist and designer Kelly Walters. Who are you today and what do you do? Can you think of a performance—black or otherwise—whatever that means—that has meant a lot to you? How is black performance marked or archived? How does black performance relate to time (to historicity or ephemerality)? What is a black performance still? How does black performance matter? What is a black motion picture?
Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit MI. She has premiered fifty performance works around the world, most recently with Wild Beauty at the Velocity Dance Center in Seattle (2020). She is the author of the performance memoirs Swallow the Fish (2017) and Experiments in Joy (2019), longlisted for The Believer Book Prize in Nonfiction. She was lead contributor to Experiments in Joy: a Workbook (2019) and her chapbook ( ghost gestures ) won the 2019 Gold Line Press Nonfiction Contest. Her performance stills and videos have been exhibited in art spaces in California, Ohio, Minnesota, Mexico, and Brazil. A 2019 Rema Hort Mann LA Emerging Artist, she teaches critical studies and creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts. The aim of her work is to open up space.
Kelly Walters is an artist + designer + educator + researcher + founder of Bright Polka Dot. Her practice includes teaching, writing and printmaking with a particular focus on race and representation in design. Her ongoing design research interrogates the complexities of identity formation, systems of value and the shared vernacular in and around black visual culture. In 2015, she completed her MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She was awarded an Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design (AICAD) Teaching Fellowship in the Graphic Design program at California College of the Arts from 2015-2016. She has previously taught at the University of Bridgeport, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Connecticut and Central Saint Martins. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Communication Design and the Associate Director of the BFA Communication Design Program at Parsons School of Design in New York.
Jheanelle Brown is a film curator/programmer, educator, and arts administrator based in Los Angeles whose curatorial practice creates frameworks to explore the boundlessness of Black life in experimental and non-fiction film and video. She is interested in the space between fugitivity and futurity and elevating an ethic of care, with special interest in the sonic in film, political film and media, and West Indian film/video. Jheanelle is a board member and a programmer for Los Angeles Filmforum and recently served as guest co-curator for Black Radical Imagination. She is currently on faculty at California Institute of the Art and Otis College of Art and Design. At this moment, she is dreaming about cosmic marronage whilst trying to remember her terrestrial obligations.
Sola Bamis is an actress, writer, performance artist, filmmaker and founder of Still Brave Productions, an entertainment production cooperative that specializes in the development, production, and curation of culturally enlightening projects for a global audience. Sola received her BA in Chemistry from the University of Miami and MFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts. She earned a SAG Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance By An Ensemble in a Drama Series for her work as Shirley on the final season of Mad Men, and appeared as Afeni Shakur, former Black Panther Party member and mother of Tupac Shakur, in Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. Her filmmaking debut The Event, shot in Nigeria, was an official selection of the 2018 BlackStar and San Francisco Black Film Festivals. She has also written and presented her one-woman show The Tutorial, a multi-part solo piece and social media installation delivering an explosive critique of Hollywood colorism, and a vital prescription for blk womyn’s self-love and expression.
Anna Martine Whitehead is a transdisciplinary artist interested in the body as material, signal, archive. She’s been presented by Velocity Dance Center; Watts Towers Art Center; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. She has contributed to projects by Onye Ozuzu, Jefferson Pinder, taisha paggett, Every house has a door, Keith Hennessy, BodyCartography Project, Julien Prévieux, and the Prison + Neighborhood Art Project. Martine has been published in Art21, C Magazine, Art Practical,frieze; contributed to Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance; and is the author of TREASURE | My Black Rupture.
Funded in part by CalArts School of Critical Studies Faculty Development and Network of Ensemble Theaters.