Amina Ross – Guest Curation, December 2015

Amina Ross is an undisciplined artist born and raised in New York, NY. Amina currently lives and works in Chicago, IL. Amina has shown works at places like Vox Populi, University of Chicago’s Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry and Woman Made Gallery. Amina’s videos have screened at places like The Black Cinema House, Sector 2337 and 400 West Rich. Amina has given lectures and participated on panels at Theater Gates’ Black Artist Retreat, Three Walls, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the College Arts Association Annual Conference and Allied Media Conference. Amina has won the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For Amina’s collaborative efforts, Amina has received Propeller Fund Grant, Administered by Gallery 400 & Three Walls, funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Amina is currently a part of Chicago Artist Coalition’s BOLT Residency 2015 cohort.


#1 Snake eating its own tail (HD)
by Ouroboros

   

"This video is cruel poetry. Amateur documentation of a pet-store-snake who in its state of delirious captivity begins to devour itself. Wow. Mystic symbols IRL! From the Wikipedia gods (i.e.; collaborative writing from folks like you & I): "The ouroboros often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality,[3] especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished. "

What's even more amazing are the comments on the amateur documentarian's "responsibility". Users ask why he didn't help, they call him cruel and inhumane. What's cruelty? What's his responsibility as someone with a camera? Fuck the pet store. Should we have pets anyway? What's captivity? What's gross and what's beautiful and how many things are gross and beautiful at the same damn time? When I was in high school I wanted to get the ouroboros tattooed on my upper back. It never happened.


#2 Thievery (Official Video)
by Arca

   

Hello, sexy alien. This beautiful exaggeration of a body gyrates, twirls and dips in its greenish-purple skin which sits somewhere between the hues of a bruise and the colors of the cosmos. When I see this body move I am brought back to memories of being blissed out on some dance floor, being so in my body that everything else disappears. When I see this body move I fast forward to maybe one hundred years from now (or perhaps just 5 years down the line) where I may inhabit some idealized version of myself which would most definitely resemble this figure. When I see this body move I think about ECSTASY as described in the introduction of Jennifer C. Nash's "The Black Body in Ecstasy":

“By ecstasy, I refer both to the possibilities of female pleasure within a phallic economy and to the possibilities of black female pleasures within a white-dominated representational economy. I am drawn to the term ecstasy in much the same way some feminists have been drawn to the term jouissance, to describe pleasures that exceed or transcend the self and to capture a bliss that exceeds language…including blissful performances of hyperbolic racialization and uncomfortable enjoyment in embodied racialization”

JOUISSANCEJOUISSANCEJOUISSANCE


#3 Destiny Godley's Makeup Transformation | Before and after
by Destiny Godley

  

“DEDICATED TO ALL MY DECEPTICONS TRANSFORMING THEMSELVES ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK”. I like to think about makeup as technology. “Deception” or alteration of one’s exterior as a powerful tool and an art form that I am completely in awe of. Who doesn’t love a good BEFORE & AFTER? Who doesn’t love a transformation? Destiny Godley is especially good. She and I don’t agree on everything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. She uses her tools (makeup, clothing, and exercise) to achieve a look that allows her to move around the world with more power and in the end her strategies draw in real material gains. I see Godley’s practice (& the practices of others like her) as a practice that invokes nuanced feminisms. Get it girl!

(For more on beauty privilege and power see TatiAnaMercedes’ “Talkin’ With Tati: Fatness/WOC/Beauty Privilege & Intersectionality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO5AqIFSmeI)


#4PRADA: The Future of Flesh
by Luke Guilford

   

The Future of Flesh manages to directly speak to the ways in which fashion confines, restricts and disciplines the body while confining, restricting and disciplining bodies. This work possesses a self-awareness. There is a tantalizing and scary cycle happening here that causes me to return to this video again and again and again…

"WE’RE GLAD YOU’VE MADE THE DECISION TO JOIN US.

YOU WILL FOLLOW OUR REGIME OF HEALTH
MOVEMENT
AND SPEECH THERAPY.

IN RETURN
YOU WILL HAVE ACCESS TO INFORMATION THAT WILL EXPAND WHAT YOU UNDERSTAND AS REALITY.

THERE WILL BE NO CONTACT WITH OUTSIDE PARTIES.

YOU WILL FEEL BROKEN.
EACH
TEAR
AUTHENTICATED.

I HAVE SOMETHING FOR YOU.

TO WEAR.

CONSIDER IT A GIFT. LET’S BEGIN."


#5 Johanna Constantine Veil at PARTICIPANT INC.
By Johanna Constantine

   

From the youtube description: " 'Veil' by Johanna Constantine is a mysteriously disturbing yet poetic "dance" alluding to flight and perhaps the rebirth of the soul. "

Johanna Constantine’s performance is all the things I like about poetry, embodied. It’s haunting, macabre, her movements hover somewhere between ancient animal, human, demon and goddess. The sculptures she manipulates remind me of pterodactyl bones and her outfit is pretty sick.