Soyoung Yoon: Beware the Light – Notes & Citations

“After seeing Perry’s exhibition, we might be reminded of the ‘rogue Roomba’ that somehow switched itself on, rolled onto a hot plate, and set itself ablaze. Reports spoke of the smoke damage—’everything is black’—which forced its owners out of the comforts of their home.”
[3] “Robot Suicide? Rogue Roomba Switches Self On, Climbs Onto Hotplate, Burns Up,” Huffington Post, November 13, 2013, updated on January 23, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/13/robot-suicide-roomba-hotplate-burns-up_n_4268064.html

“Recent scholarship attests to the historic instability of photographing or filming dark skin in color.”
[4] Lorna Roth, “Looking at Shirley, the Ultimate Norm: Colour Balance, Image Technologies, and Cognitive Equity,” Canadian Journal of Communication vol. 34, no. 1 (2009), 111-136.

“The women look back at us, as our eyes slowly start seeing—and recognizing—the faint yellow figures that emerge from the background, the whited-out bodies of two young black men hanging from a tree and the tightly-packed, respectfully-dressed, genteel white crowd gathered underneath them, the ghosting of the infamous night scene from Lawrence Beitler’s iconic 1930 photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, which circulated as a souvenir postcard, a trophy, an heirloom.”
[5] See Anna Katz, catalog entry for Kerry James Marshall: Mastry, ed. Helen Molesworth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Skira Rizzoli, 2016), 150-1. “[The three women] dangle as ‘accessories’ to the crime, the implication being that the structural privileges of whiteness—including being a witness to, rather than a victim of, racial violence and the power to inflict such violence without the probability of persecution—are not unlike heirlooms of jewelry that pass along matrilineal lines from mothers to daughters,” 150.

“The video cuts from a newly-viral video of the Windows 95 launch to police training videos circulated on-line.”
[6] “Watch Video of Microsoft’s Bill Gates Awkwardly Celebrate Windows 95 Launch,” Huffington Post, December 2, 2015, updated on February 12, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/12/watch-video-of-microsofts-bill-gates-awkwardly-celebrate-windows-95-launch-_n_9216304.html

“In 1994, in view of the Rodney King video, poet Elizabeth Alexander wrote of the spectacle of black bodies in pain as a national tradition, staged primarily for and by white people. She adds, “but in one way or another, black people also have been looking.”
[7, 8] Elizabeth Alexander, “Can you be BLACK and Look at This?: Reading the Rodney King Video(s),” Public Culture 1994, no 7, 77-94. Alexander cites Hortense Spiller’s differentiation between “body” and “flesh” in “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” diacritics vol. 17, no. 2 (Summer 1987), 64-81. “If we think of the flesh as a primary narrative, then we mean its seared, dived, ripped-apartness, riveted to the ship’s hole, fallen, or ‘escaped’ overboard.” Spillers, 67.

“Via her Roomba zines, Perry refers to the proposal for a new measure of virality, indeed promiscuity, for evaluating images, what the artist Hito Steyerl called the ‘defense of the poor image,’ the image that is valued for the ‘velocity, intensity, spread’ of its circulation, exemplified in the ludic velocity of this Roomba, appropriated as a purveyor of critical intervention underfoot.”
[9] Hito Steyerl, “In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective” e-flux no. 24 (April 2011), re-printed in Perry’s Roomba zine; see also Hito Steyerl, “In Defense of the Poor Image,” e-flux no. 10 (Nov. 2009) http://www.e-flux.com/journal/10/61362/in-defense-of-the-poor-image/ 

“The Roomba zine also references critic Aria Dean’s comparison of the circulation of the poor image, especially as memes via social media, to what the historian Cedric Robinson in Black Marxism would describe as the collective being of blackness (‘ontological totality’).”
[10] “We have long been digital, ‘compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed,’ across time and space. For blackness, the meme could be a way of further figuring an existence that spills over the bounds of the body, a homecoming into our homelessness.” Aria Dean, “Poor Meme, Rich Meme,” Real Life, July 25, 2016, re-printed in Perry’s Roomba zine. See also Cedric Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1983).

“Indeed, it is the very philosophy of policing behavior (“broken windows theory”), which has been the motor for expanding the scope and intensity of the surveillance of particular communities, exposing the entire community to a harsh, punitive light, where every move, every gesture could become probable cause.”
[11] Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton, eds., Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter, London: Verso Books, 2017. Especially in relation to the killings in Baltimore, Maryland, see the Fault Lines reporter Anjali Kamat’s contribution, “The Baltimore Uprising”: “This is how an entire community can be criminalized and could reveal in part why Freddie Gray was chased down, beaten, ‘folden up like a pretzel,’ and arrested outside the Gilmore Homes on that fateful morning of April 12, 2015, when all he had done was make eye contact with a police officer and then run as fast as he could.”

“The historian Simone Browne emphasizes the continuity of Omnipresence with eighteenth century ‘lantern laws’ that required slaves to carry a lit candle after dark, technology-as-prothesis: the black body as cyborg.”
[12] Ethan Chiel, “New York City has been shining surveillance light on its black population for the last 300 years,” Fusion, May 19, 2016, http://fusion.net/story/302613/new-york-city-lantern-laws-nypd-omnipresnce/ See also Simone Browne, “Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness” (Durham: Duke Univ. Press, 2015)

“‘Once it has begun, it never ceases … they fill everything, like water, they seep through everything, like water, they have no substance. Of course, the police throw themselves against them, of course, batons are flying, but what’s this? They strike right through the bodies…’ Brecht adds, ‘Such dreams have consequences.'”
[13] Bertolt Brecht, “The Bruise-A Threepenny Film” in Brecht on Film and Radio, ed. and trans. by Marc Silberman, Brecht on Film & Radio, London: Bloomsbury, 2000, 142-3.