Black folx and people of color are out making culture, like we always have been
since times immemorial. But white supremacist patriarchal capitalism has
upgraded itself and once again our cultural production is capitalised on, while
our bodies, well-being and communities are still expendable. Consumerism,
from the other side of the barbed wired fence, is extractivism. Extractivism -
getting the knowledge without caring for the people who produce it, thus
leaving holes in existence - is what white institutions are almost irredeemably
built to perpetrate, unless they have a strong will, purposeful practice and
vigilant understanding of redistribution and reparation.
From the moment you first contact the artist of color -in its pro-Black, pro-hoe,
femme-centric, anti academic, non-european, decolonial meaning- until our
arrival back to our “home”, there are numerous ways we are subjected to
gendered, racialized, corporative, corrective, institutional, financial, state and
police violence. Too often, white institution’s approach to understanding these
complicated realities takes a universal framework based on vague notions of
diversity, rather than a targeted approach relying on inquiry, analysis, criticality,
and reparation. Arts organizations implied in the holistic well being of the artist
of color and their community play a crucial role in fostering and amplifying our
work. Those who do not engage in extractivist behaviours that leave us
precarious and exhausted.
This guide is non exhaustive compilation of ways cultural institutions, public or
privately funded, where people in places of curatorial responsibility are
overwhelmingly white and/or light skinned, can and should and will have to
redistribute their material and immaterial resources when welcoming Black folx,
people of color and their audiences. It applies to a wide scope of sometimes
seemingly politically disparate settings that may utilise the white cube/black box
as display frame***, .such as museums, galleries, fondations, parties, workshops,
concert halls, theaters, URL platforms, universities, classrooms, community
centers, autonomous and/or self managed spaces etc. It is based on my own
experience and embodiment, so it is fundamentally incomplete. Hit me up if you
have more ideas on how to protect our presence in the white institution.
The artist of color will have gone through the custom lines at the airport/station and will be stressed out.
Make sure to have a person with good vibes present to collect them from the station and take them to the venue, preferably a local person of color. The best option for the artist of color is to take a cab. We don’t want to be hauling our luggage* through the town only to be stopped and questioned by the police. Remember, we come from far. And so did our ancestors.
Organise the arrival so as to give the artist of color a few hours (preferably between 6h and 24h) before the start of their event/performance/workshop/dj set/concert/screening/training.
Let the security personnel know there will be an artist of color and their audience coming to the white institution so they don’t suspiciously follow us.
Have a quiet space ready for the artist of color to gather their thoughts and plug in their phone/computer.
Offer to give them time alone and/or with friends.
Always have water available. We need to stay hydrated.
* emotional and /or physical luggage.