Clareese Hill

Rapid Response Fellow 2020 - 2020

Clareese Hill is a Practice-Based Researcher. She explores the word identity through her perspective as an Afro-Caribbean American woman, and her societal role as a black feminist academic disruptor. Clareese’s interdisciplinary practice includes performance, virtual reality development, photography, experimental filmmaking, writing, and immersive installation. Clareese served as organizing assembler with fellow art researcher Elly Clarke on Occupying the In-Between, an online speculative conference that enacted as a disruption contra to is considered academic research dissemination. She has given performance lectures at Royal College of Art( London), Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge, UK), Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, University of Sussex, City University of New York Graduate Center, and The Chicago Art Department. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, New York, London, Cambridge, and France. Clareese holds an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Art Research program at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.

What do you plan to do during Phase 1 of Rapid Response?

In phase one, I intend on creating the activating methodology for my project, which is an online community for black narratives that will be accessible through the use of a virtual reality web platform. The activating methodology will be a written research document that unpacks the purpose of the online community to contribute to the revision of the validity of Western ideologies of knowledge production. The work will reflect the research questions in the activating methodology by creating a small scale version of the online community. The small-scaled version will include questions about collaboration by engaging with a linguistic metaphor for living in assembled relation that Édouard Glissant calls creolization. I am thinking about collaboration in a transgenerational tractory, where narratives are assembled based on care, which acts opposition to focusing solely on the body the story comes. This strategy is to act in refusal of further reproducing the attention to adhering value on contributions based on the categories the body that produces it occupies. The online platform will also include thoughts about the creation of restorative spaces, and what does it mean to be together in cyber-sociality but apart in the landscape. The small scale version will mostly be a technical prototype that tests the mechanics of the webvr platform and the desired interactivity.

How does your work relate to the theme of the open call?

My research is in conversation with the ethos of the open call by thinking about the values, stories, ideas, and dreams that are not portrayed in the Western cultures’ one-dimensional metrics of tracking bodies based on the physical and cultural categories that they occupy. The online archive that I will develop during my time as a member of the Rapid Response cohort is about the preservation, accessibility, and authenticity of diversity and the difference of narratives of blackness. The online community and archive will operate under the intension to return to the culture of the pre-colonial site in the attempt to preserve black antiquity. This archive acts as a griot and returns the oral traditions of storytelling, a precursor to colonial project making. This space will be a collaboration with a durational imagination that decentralizes the role of knowledge production. This space will be where visitors can learn about authentic modes of blackness, respond, send notes to others, and make inquiries into the future as an oracle practice. As people of color, our narratives are being eroded through media perversion, toxic marketing, surveillance capitalism, and the inequality in statistical data. The only way to hold on to what blackness is in its authentic form is to do it ourselves as a community. My research is about rewriting the role Western culture plays in the everydayness of black bodies. The call for Rapid Response task practitioners rewriting the toxic hegemonic practices of our capitalist Western society in its newly upended state of fragility.

What does the future look like to you?

What I believe what the future will look like in order to be sustainable and generative is an act towards heresy. A revision through the activation of a new cultural autopoiesis based dynamism, and difference, which acts in contra to the toxic hegemonic culture of homogeneity and the fidelity of sameness, legibility, and coherence that we operate under in our contemporary state. What we need is a refusal of the poor quality of how we live, assimilate, and understand our roles in Western society. We need to collectively enact a survival praxis that is fueled by care and community building.

What is your grounding ethos?

My research is about exploring the validity of the word “identity” in Western culture. The integral question of my research is about interrogating the value of knowledge production as a product of what Sylvia Wynter defines humanism. I intentionally decentralizing the role that continental philosophy plays in my work as a direct refusal of how value is ascribed in Western modes of knowledge production. The trajectory of humanism in its morphological characteristic of the contemporary West manifests in structures of the state that include surveillance, data collection, the necropolitical condition, brutal policing practices, and other subjection tactics. I work with critical theory from black metaphysics, black feminist thought, Caribbean Philosophy, and decolonized geology. The archive and online community, I am developing for the Rapid Response residency are grounded in Édouard Glissant and how he uses poetics to activate a mode of thinking about human relations by observing the medium in its traditional Eurocentric standpoint of knowledge production then othering it by decentering its practice from the body of its Western origin. He does this by using poetics as a way of communicating past the observance of sameness and differences. I am also interested in his use of creolization as a linguistic metaphor for what it means to live with others in an assemblage of recognition of people, their culture, and their ideologies, instead of an amalgamation the colonized identity, a phenomenological mattering which changes through the force of condition. In this project, I am also experimenting with oral traditions as an aspect vital to cultures that were othered and experienced their arrival at an abstraction of an Anthropogenic end. To explore oral traditions and their disruption of the coherence of the Western culture of inscription, historicity, and statecraft I work with Alexis Pauline Gumbs and her oracle practice, which includes oral affirmations of being present with others in contiguous moments of care and awakening through collectively engaging with futurists and reflective questioning.