Jumping off from Sun Ra’s thoughts on evil, and the Alien films, this performance will explore how the sociality Sondra wants to visualise and participate in has no interest in respectability.
“Why should I be good? No, it’s better for me to come to the white race and say, ‘Yes, we evil people should sit down to the table and talk together. You evil, I’m evil too. Now them other folks you dealing with are good black folks, I’m not good and you’re not good. We understand one another.’” - Sun Ra
In the Alien films, the Xenomorph’s strongest urge is to survive by any means necessary, violently demonstrating life outside of absolute control, and making them an unreliable tool in the ‘Engineers’’ colonial projects. For Aliens, the production designers made its most iconic gun by turning a Steadicam harness into something that could fire live rounds - like a dreadful metaphor for how power's violent urges merge both seeing and killing, or a sci-fi equivalent of police body cameras.
Sondra is working on a new performance that draws on these sources to explore how the sociality she wants to visualise and participate in has no interest in respectability.
Sondra’s recent event in London was one of the best performances we’ve seen in a long time - a kind of generative, generous, humble and funny exploration of the themes of sociality and entanglement as they arise in the Black Radical Tradition, and the thinking of some prominent past collaborators on Episodes, inc. Fred Moten, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Hortense Spillers and Saidiya Hartman, amongst others. Her multi-media installations, videos and performances are both highly political and acutely familiar with everyday experiences of digital life, popular media, socially and culturally constructed identity and the status of the black body in a not-so-post-racial society. “I’ve been thinking about how imaging people works - I think about…a series of dots that make up who a person is and all their experience, that are all very much connected. And so the closer you are to this series of dots the more complex that figure or subject becomes, and the further away you get from it, the more solid and flatter that subject becomes. What I’m trying to do is get as close to the subject as possible.”
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