Eyebeam Assembly: Black Movement in Digital Spaces
A Conversation with LaJuné McMillian, Aimee Meredith Cox, and Yussef Cole
Wednesday, October 23rd
7:00-9:00 PM (doors at 6:30pm)
Over the course of the past year, current 2019 Eyebeam Access Resident LaJuné McMillian has been developing The Black Movement Project, an online database of motion capture data from Black performers and Black character base models, currently underrepresented in available online databases. Throughout their process, McMillian has been asking a series of questions core to the project and their research:
What does it mean to ethically digitize Black movement? How do we protect data that is collected, and how can it better serve and celebrate the community? How can we effectively challenge digital tools that don’t share these values, and gain control and ownership of our collective future?
For October’s Eyebeam Assembly, LaJuné has invited guest speakers Aimee Meredith Cox, Yale Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies, and Writer and Motion Designer Yussef Cole to parse these questions in relationship to their own personal practices and research. The evening will begin with an introduction to The Black Movement Project, and will include time for audience feedback and discussion as part of the artist’s ongoing research.
Yussef Cole is a writer and motion graphic designer living in the Bronx, New York. He writes primarily about how video games intersect with broader cultural contexts such as class and race. His writing stems from an appreciation of the medium tied with a desire to tear it all down so that something better might be built.
Aimee Meredith Cox is jointly appointed as an Associate Professor in the departments of Anthropology and African American Studies at Yale University. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of Anthropology, Black Studies, and Performance Studies. Cox’s first book, Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015), won a book award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, a 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing and Honorable Mention from the 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, given by the National Women’s Studies Association. She is the editor of the volume, Gender: Space (MacMillan, 2018). Cox’s current book project is, Living Past Slow Death: Reclamations of Black Life in the U.S., an ethnography that moves in and between Cincinnati, OH; Jackson, MS; and Clarksburg, WVA. This monograph explores how people define and live within notions of “The Black Community,” activism, social transformation, and freedom in contemporary U.S. cities that are actively wrestling with the residue of the past and the untrustworthy promises of the future.
LaJuné McMillian is a New Media Artist, Maker, and Creative Technologist living in New York. In their practice, McMillian is dedicated to making art abstracted from their personal experiences. They have created pieces that integrate performance, virtual reality, and physical computing to question our current use of technology and forms of communication. Part of their research is centered around creating technology and mediums that are inherently intersectional, allowing communities that have been ignored to have a space to be recognized, loved, accepted and heard. Their work explores interconnection and experiencing life beyond the material world. LaJuné has shared their work widely at venues and festivals including: Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, MakerFaire, National Sawdust, Liberty Science Center, Chelsea Film Festival, Creative Tech Week and Weird Reality. They are also the Lead Character Animator for NeuroSpeculative Afrofeminism which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and is currently touring at festivals including SXSW and Tribeca Film Festival. They are currently a 2019 Resident at Eyebeam.