Derrais Carter: Black Revelry Quiet Storm

If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, Amsterdam, Netherlands
16 Dec 2020 - 21 Feb 2021

Ernie Barnes, Sugar Shack, 1976 (detail).

This winter join If I Can’t Dance 2019-2020 Performance in Residence researcher Derrais Carter for Black Revelry Quiet Storm (BRQS), a three-part monthly radio broadcast series that places Carter in the role of the late-night DJ. In its exploration of different modes of storytelling, the show takes its inspiration from the nocturnal “Quiet Storm” radio format, which originated in the 1970s and featured jazz, soul, and R&B songs about romance and intimacy. BRQS is part of Carter’s broader Black Revelry project, which takes up the detail—or “the sample”—as a method for reading the iconic Sugar Shack (1976) by Ernie Barnes, a painting that has circulated widely within Black popular culture (for example, as the cover art for Marvin Gaye’s album I Want You) across over four decades. In so doing, Black Revelry affectively maps Black social life in the United States as it has been registered through the painting’s circulation.

Each show in the Black Revelry Quiet Storm series focuses on a key term: gathering (December 2020), dispersal (January 2021), and frequency (February 2021). Thematically, these key terms set the stage for Carter’s close readings of Barnes’ painting, which unfold through song selections, personal commentary, and readings of Black critical theory. BRQS is broadcasted from international locations including the Amsterdam-based arts radio platform Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee (Wednesdays 10pm-12am, GMT +1); the Berlin-based independent radio station at UKW 88,4 MHz in Berlin and 90,7 MHz in Potsdam (Sundays 2-4am, GMT +1); and the pioneering Los Angeles-based internet radio platform dublab (Wednesdays 10pm-12am, GMT –8). The Black Revelry Quiet Storm series is part of the Edition VIII – Ritual and Display final programme.

Derrais Carter (b. 1984, Augsburg, Germany) is an artist and assistant professor in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona where he teaches Black Critical Theory, Black Popular Music and Black Queer Studies. Currently, Carter is completing a scholarly monograph provisionally titled Obscene Material: Black Girls, Aesthetic Refusal, and the Moens Scandal. The book presents a black feminist narration of a 1919 obscenity scandal involving black girls living in Washington, D.C. who survived the vicious attacks of Herman Marie Bernelot Moens, a Dutch man who posed as an anthropologist in order to photograph them and assault them in the supposed name of science. He is also completing a companion art book with Sharita Towne titled black girls: an archive. This unbound art book is a 10in x 10in x 10in cube containing poems written from the imagined perspective of Black girls in the Moens Scandal. Forthcoming in 2021 will be a Black Revelry publication with If I Can’t Dance and designer Will Holder, which takes up the form of the EP record as a starting point to re-configure the boundaries of a book.

If I Can’t Dance receives structural support from the Mondriaan Fund and the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) and project support from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.


Gathering – An invitation for now and maybe tomorrow
Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 10pm-12am, broadcasted by Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, Amsterdam and dublab, Los Angeles
Sunday, December 20, 2020, 2-4am, broadcasted by, Berlin

Dispersal – This groove is long, slow, and winding. Stretch, expand, and linger
Wednesday, January 20, 2021, 10pm-12am, broadcasted by Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, Amsterdam and dublab, Los Angeles
Sunday, January 24, 2021, 2-4am, broadcasted by, Berlin

Frequency – Return. Repeat. Replay. This set is inspired by the atmosphere of “Let’s Do It Again” by The Staples Singers
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 10pm-12am, broadcasted by Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, Amsterdam and dublab, Los Angeles
Sunday, February 21, 2021, 2-4am, broadcasted by, Berlin


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