Talks / Workshops

Arthur Jafa, Dreams are Colder Than Death (Film, 2013)

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) , Miami, Florida, United States
13 Sep 2018

Arthur Jafa, Dreams are Colder Than Death (Film, 2013)

ICA Miami presents a special screening of Dreams are Colder than Death, an experimental documentary/essay film by Arthur Jafa that leverages a reflection on the legacy of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech,” to pose fundamental and pressing questions: “What is the concept of blackness? Where did it come from? What does it mean for people of color living in America today?”

The screening will be followed by a conversation led by Rizvana Bradley, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and African-American Studies at Yale University, and Aria Dean, artist and Assistant Curator of Net Art and Digital Culture at Rhizome, New York.


Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an acclaimed filmmaker and conceptual artist based in New York. He is a crucial voice in a lineage of artists and filmmakers particularly concerned with the creation of a black visual aesthetics, which he models after the centrality of black music in American culture and life. Jafa is inspired in this quest by the way black musicians focus their collective genius toward operating within very specific constraints. Similarly, a black visual aesthetics for Jafa might become available when every technological, aesthetic, and methodological protocol used by dominant cinema is challenged and adapted to the specific socio-cultural conditions of American black life. Since the late 1990s, his work, research, and writing have focused on this possibility.

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and African-American Studies at Yale University. Bradley received her PhD in Literature from Duke University in 2013, and her B.A. (Highest Honors) from Williams College, where she studied English and Political Theory. She was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York from 2012-2013. Before coming to Yale, Bradley was an Assistant Professor at Emory University, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Art at the University College London. Born in Kenya and raised in the UK, Germany, Poland, Tanzania, and the US, Bradley’s research and teaching focus on the study of film and media at the intersections of contemporary art and performance (with a particular interest in the development of the moving image in relation to cinema). Her scholarly approach to artistic practices in the fields of African-American cultural production, as well as the wider black diaspora expands and develops frameworks for thinking across these contexts, specifically in relation to global and transnational artistic and cinematic practices.

Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist, writer, and curator based in Los Angeles. She is Assistant Curator of Net Art and Digital Culture at Rhizome. Her writing has been featured in Artforum, Art in America, The New Inquiry, Real Life, Topical Cream Magazine, Mousse Magazine, CURA Magazine, and X-TRA Contemporary Art Quarterly. She has exhibited at American Medium, New York; Arcadia Missa, London; Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; The Sunroom, Richmond, VA; and Boatos Fine Art, São Paulo; among other venues. Dean has spoken at the New Museum, UCLA, Reed College, Oberlin College, The New School, and Machine Project, Los Angeles. She also co-directs Los Angeles project space As It Stands.


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