BADS_lab – Black Arts and Decolonial Sciences, May 10 -20

From 10 May through 20 May 2024, the Center for Concrete and Abstract Machines and the Fyrthyr Institute for Unsettling Technologies invite you to join the BADS_lab at Watershed for a series of lectures, panels, workshops, open studios, and participatory experiments in the Black Arts and Decolonial Sciences.

BADS_lab is an experimental gathering for artists, philosophers, scientists, technologists, and organic intellectuals who are intent upon (i) deconstructing the colonial practices of brutalization and specialization that have entrenched themselves in the modern techno-scientific imagination, and (ii) (re-)constructing “other-whys” that enable scientists and technologists to approach beings otherwise than brutalizing and specializing them.

The “brute matter” and “brute facts” of Colonial Science are not givens: they are made by Colonial Science via processes of “brutalization.”

Colonizers submit beings to scientific study because they intend to brutalize them, to make efficient use of force as they transform beings into perversely pleasurable and profitable objects for collection and consumption.

It is only when beings resist brutalization in remarkable ways that Colonial Science calls in the specialists in complexity, chaos, and indeterminacy as reinforcements, for the purposes of risk management and damage control. Colonial Science then endeavors to marginalize those beings that are remarkable for resisting brutalization, writing them off as special cases, as cases for specialized know-how, and rendering them inaccessible to the multitudes.

BADS_lab invites you to research, design, and make plans to render resistance multitudinous and generalize antagonisms against colonial practices of brutalization and specialization.

Schedule of public events

Muindi Fanuel Muindi –
(De-/Re-)Constructing Worlds

Friday May 10, 5:00 – 6:30pm

Life on our beautiful blue-green planet is being depleted and devastated by a global apartheid regime engineered by a Racial Capitalist Empire bent on planetary ecocide. Our arts give us a visceral sense of this deathly reality, our philosophies enable us to thoroughly conceive of this deathly reality, and our sciences enable us to predict this deathly reality. Yet our arts, philosophies, and sciences can do little in and of themselves to stop the unfolding of this deathly reality: art-qua-art, philosophy-qua-philosophy, and science-qua-science cannot, in and of themselves, make a better world.

Poet, philosopher, and social practice artist, Muindi Fanuel Muindi will make the case that artists, philosophers, and scientists who aim to alter this deathly reality are being called to act as world-makers in addition and in excess of acting as artists, philosophers, and scientists.

Post-studio artist and kin-maker, Hyperion Çacatzin Yvaire lo Saga, will serve as critical respondent and facilitate a question and answer session.

Futurhythmachines: House

Saturday May 11, 12 to 8pm

Thanks to drum machines, sound systems, repurposed warehouses and basements, 1980s Chicago House Music opened up a future that was black, brown and queer. DJs invented new ways of keeping and marking time in community. In the years since, computation has made music-making more accessible. What kinds of collectivities are still to come?

Combining complementary modes of thinking, making, and performing, Futurhythmachines: House (FRM:House) is a daylong public event organized during the BADS_lab, featuring a DIY synthesizer workshop, a panel discussion, and a DIY synth performance + reception. 

FRM:House will reflect on social forms, expressive technics, and musical experience through Chicago House Music, discovering therein an art of forming fugitive publics and a science of probing sonic ecologies. 

FRM:House – DIY-Synth Workshop
1200pm – 330pm – Saturday May 11, 2024
In the workshop, participants will use inexpensive microcontrollers to create their own
modular Chicago house rhythm machines we are calling EARTH. In the workshop, we will go
over some soldering basics, but focus on musical interactions between modules. This means
that with a friend, you can team up to create a more robust musical landscape.
We’ll provide some starter software for CCAM EARTH, but since the Daisy is a microcontroller,
in the future you can upload code written in a number of different languages, including
Max/MSP Gen~ (which we’ll use).
Spots are limited to 15, and a registration of $25 dollars will hold you spot (subsidized
generously by our sponsors below).

FRM:House – Panel
4pm – 530pm – Saturday May 11, 2024
BADS_lab organizer Muindi Fanuel Muindi (philosopher & poet) will moderate a panel with Dr. Thomas DeFrantz (black social dance historian & technology theorist), DJ Duane Powell (House DJ & music historian), and Meida McNeal (multi-disciplinary performance artist & critical ethnographer) to discuss the sonic and social architectures of Chicago House and their surrounds. The panel discussion will situate Chicago House within a long lineage of antiphonal experiments in the Black Arts that have gathered people in movement and in apposition to prevailing paradigms of capture, control, and containment.
FRM:House – Reception
6pm – 730pm – Saturday May 11, 2024
Following the workshop and panel discussion, organizers at CCAM and the Fyrthyr invite the public to join them for bites, refreshments, music, and critical conversations inspired by the day’s proceedings. You are also invited to learn more about the projects and missions of CCAM and the Fyrthyr and to get involved.

BADS_lab – Open Studio Hours

Monday & Tuesday, May 13 – 14, 4pm – 530pm
Thursday & Friday, May 16 – 17, 4pm – 530pm

Join BADS_lab research fellows and organizers from CCAM and the Fyrthyr in our pop-up atelier-lab at Watershed. Create and collaborate in community and participate in experiments in the Black Arts and Decolonial Sciences.

Public Talk – TJ Demos
Gaza: Colonial Violence, Ecocide, and Survival Media

Tuesday, May 14, 530pm – 7pm

This presentation offers an overview of Israeli attacks on Gaza as not only plausible genocide, but weaponized ecocide. Against the backdrop of Israeli settler colonialism, it also considers what Palestinian survival media looks like and how such media defines climate justice at the intersection of abolition and decolonization.

BADS_lab facilitator, Hyperion Çacatzin Yvaire lo Saga, will serve as critical respondent and facilitate a question and answer session.

Thanks to the Climate Crisis + Media Arts Working Group at the Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University for supporting this event.

Public Dialogue – The Therapeutic Imagination: A Conversation on Paralysis and Rebirth

Friday, May 17, 530pm – 7pm

For nearly six centuries, the forces of colonialism and racial capitalism have waged an unnameable war against our planet and her multitudes, with an extreme prejudice against her Black and Indigenous multitudes. Faced with an immense history of violence for which reparations have yet to be made and a genocidal, ethnocidal, and ecocidal horizon from which there is little refuge or respite to be had, many of us find that our imaginations are paralyzed by our shock at what has transpired and our dread of what is to come.

Join us for a conversation that will consider ways to mobilize our imaginations against the currents of empire, war, and accumulation by dispossession, denigration, and devastation.

BADS_lab facilitators, Muindi Fanuel Muindi and Hyperion Çacatzin Yvaire lo Saga, will serve as facilitators.

BADS_lab – Public Showcase & Closing Reception

Saturday, May 18, 2pm – 6pm

Join BADS_lab research fellows and organizers from CCAM and the Fyrthyr at Watershed as we present the outcomes of the collaborative and communal experiments in the Black Arts and Decolonial Sciences over the course of our residency at Watershed.