The Shape of Humidity: Performing Black Atlantic Theory Making

Genevieve Hyacinthe

Abstract


Following bell hooks’ submission that theory making is “a location for healing” (2017, 59) “The Shape of Humidity: Performing Black Atlantic Theory Making” riffs upon the historically critical and widely circulated subject of the black body politic and Atlantic waters informing but non-exclusive to performance, art history, and visual cultural discourses. The theory making performed here alternatively frames the black Atlantic body in relation to humidity, illustrating what Deleuze and Guattari might call the “possibles” evoked  through “a contraction of earth and humidity” (Deleuze 1994, 76–78). The theory is shaped upon a discussion of Winslow Homer’s The Gulf Stream (1899), included in Kara Walker’s cultural-political opus, Kara Walker: After The Deluge (2006), mounted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Theory making confronts the painting’s adherence to the hegemonic tradition of rendering the black Atlantic body as a perennial form in peril, whose destiny in this instance is as matter consumed by the thermodynamic sublimity of the waters. Alternatively, the action of theory making here collapses space-time separations among black Atlantic flora, the healing processes of artists Lygia Clark and Wangechi Mutu, and modes of breath activation, to access states of limitlessness actualized through bodily openness to humidity’s grace. 


Keywords


humidity; airy poetics; prana; healing; theory-making-as-performance; black Atlantic aesthetics; diaspora; yoga-philosophy; santería; art-and-ritual

Full Text:

HTML PDF

References


Als, Hilton. 2016. “Beywatch.” The New Yorker, May 30. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/30/beyonces-lemonade

Amma, Gunavati, and Sarvaga. 2015. Tulasi Devi: The Goddess of Devotion. M.A. Center.

Bidgoli, Maryam Mobini et al. 2016. “The Effect of Sukha Pranayama on Anxiety in Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Research 8 (4): 170–75. https://doi.org/10.15171/jcvtr.2016.34

Bouie, Jamelle. 2015. “Where Black Lives Matter Began: Hurricane Katrina Exposed Our Nation’s Amazing Tolerance for Black Pain.” Slate, August 23. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/08/hurricane_katrina_10th_anniversary_how_the_black_lives_matter_movement_was.html.

Carneiro, Mário (director). 1984. Lygia Clark—Memória do Corpo. Video, 30:27.

Cervenak, Sarah Jane. 2018. “‘Black Night is Falling’: The ‘Airy Poetics’ of Some Performance.” TDR: The Drama Review 62 (1): 166–69. https://doi.org/10.1162/DRAM_a_00727

Cox, Kenyon. 1908. “Art Here and Abroad—Cox Talks of Homer’s Pictures.” New York Times, January 12, 10.

DeFrantz, Thomas F., and Anita Gonzalez. 2014. “Introduction: From ‘Negro Expression’ to ‘Black Performance.’” In Black Performance Theory. Edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez, 1–15. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822377016

Deleuze, Gilles, and Guattari, Félix. 1994. What is Philosophy? Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Graham Burchell. New York: Columbia University Press.

Diaz, José Carlos. 2018. The Plants of Santeria and the Regla de Palo Monte: Uses and Properties. Ciudad de Panamá: Ediciones Aurelia.

Engelmann, Sasha. 2015. “Toward a Poetics of Air: Sequencing and Surface Breath.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40 (3): 430–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12084

Gladstone Gallery. 2018. “Wangechi Mutu: Ndoro Na Miti January 27–March 25, 2017.” Gladstone Gallery Press Release. Accessed March 20, 2018. https://gladstonegallery.com/exhibition/12317/press

Halberstam, Jack. 2013. “The Wild Beyond: With and For the Undercommons.” In The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study. Edited by Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, 2–13. New York: Minor Compositions.

hooks, bell. 2017. “Theory as Liberatory Practice.” In Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, 59–75. New York: Routledge.

Hroch, Petra. 2015. “Deleuze, Guattari, and Environmental Pedagogy and Politics: Ritournelles for a Planet-Yet-to-Come.” In Deleuze and Guattari, Politics and Education: For a People-Yet-to-Come. Edited by Matthew Carlin and Jason Wallin, 49–75. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Jayasheela, S., and Kiran Kumar K. Salagame. 2018. “Triguņa and Chitta Bhũmike in Yoga Practitioners.” Indian Journal of Positive Psychology 9 (1): 33–37.

Macel, Christine. 2017. “Part 3: Lygia Clark: At the Border of Art.” Post: Notes on Modern & Contemporary Art Around the Globe. Posted July 20, 2017. https://post.at.moma.org/content_items/1008-part-3-lygia-clark-at-the-border-of-art. Excerpted from Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988. Edited by Cornelia Butler and Luis Pérez-Oramas, 253–262. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2014.

Madison, D. Soyini. 2014. “Foreword.” In Black Performance Theory. Edited by Thomas F. DeFrantz and Anita Gonzalez, vii–ix. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Memório do corpo (1984): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ymjW6yVKAg.

Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2006. “Kara Walker at the MET: After the Deluge.” Exhibition. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, NY. March 21–August 6. https://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2006/kara-walker

Mock, Brentin. 2018. “Mapping Where Environmental Justice is the Most Threatened in the Carolinas.” Citylab. September 21. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/09/mapping-where-environmental-justice-is-most-threatened-in-the-carolinas/570985/

Mutu, Wangechi. 2017. Ndoro Na Miti. January 27–March 25. https://gladstonegallery.com/exhibition/12317/press

Patanjali. 2010. The Yoga Sū́tras of Patanjali, 2nd edition. Translated by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. Monroe, NY: Baba Bhagavandas Publication Trust.

Raj, Ajai. 2014. “Feeling Hot Can Fuel Rage: Hotter Weather Sparks Aggression and Revolution.” Scientific American Mind, January 1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/feeling-hot-can-fuel-rage/

Rao, A. Venkoba. 2002. “Mind in Ayurveda.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 44 (3): 201–11. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.70970

Reed, Christopher. 1989. “The Artist and the Other: The Work of Winslow Homer.” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring): 68–79.

Reiss, Daniel. 2000. “We Can Learn about Ourselves from Winslow Homer’s ‘The Gulf Stream’.” Tennessee Tribune, March 15, 4. https://aestheticrealism.net/arfdntennessee/homer-dr.htm

Smith, Roberta. 2006. “Kara Walker Makes Contrasts in Silhouette in Her Own Met Show.” New York Times, March 24, E27.

Spassky, Natalie. 1982. “Winslow Homer: At the Metropolitan Museum of Art.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 39 (4): 1–48. https://doi.org/10.2307/3269198

Srivastava, K. 2010. “Human Nature: Indian Perspective Revisited.” Industrial Psychiatry Journal 19 (2): 77–81.

Tenfelde, Sandi, Lena Hatchett, and Karen L. Saban. 2017. “‘Maybe Black Girls Do Yoga’: A Focus Group Study with Predominantly Low-income African-American Women.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, December 11, 230–235.

Thompson, Robert Farris. 1973. “An Aesthetic of the Cool.” African Arts 7 (1): 41–91. https://doi.org/10.2307/3334749

Wiebe, Mariianne Mays. 2014. “Lygia Clark.” Border Crossings 33 (4): 110–11.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.21476/PP.2019.42237

Copyright (c) 2019 Genevieve Hyacinthe

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.