The Center For Afrofuturist Studies The Center For Afrofuturist Studies The Center For Afrofuturist Studies The Center For Afrofuturist Studies

Axis V


10.29 - 11.30.2021


229 N. Gilbert St.

on view by appointment or during open hours:
Tues 6-8p + Thurs 10a-12p + Fri 3-6p + Sat 12-3p + Sun 2:30-4:30p

Axis V is located within the historical departure of The Great Migration (1916 - 1920). The narration follows a Creole African American woman, Vesta, who migrated away from Caroll Parish, Louisiana - a county that held a portion of the largest slave holding plantations of the 19th century United States. Dependent upon the threatened distribution of The Chicago Defender, her faith in the Vodun Loa (divinity) Papa Legba and the menacing journey by railroad - Vesta makes her way north to become a domestic worker for a widower who lost her husband to the Spanish Flu and her daughter at 231 North Gilbert St in Iowa City.

A site intervention with the PS1- 229 gallery, Axis V conceptually transfigures the infrastructure of the gallery into a navigational axis line. It traverses both intimate geography and the subsequent identities within an identity forged by this historical migration.

In 2016, a working group communed together at Duke University. It was comprised of J Kameron Carter , Sarah Jane Cervenak, Saidiya Hartman and Fred Moten. What was cogitated upon was The Black Outdoors or The Black Outside. Moten shared that “In renewing our consciousness of being in the Hold, That the thought of the outside can only occur from the inside. Speak in reverence of the tradition of the thought of the outside, but also the tradition of those who can be in two places at the same time”. Moten shared this in response to Hartman’s reflection of what it means to escape an enclosure but that the threat is always still looming despite you sustaining this alternate mode of existing and that the threat never has really been eliminated. Hartman continues that in the face of threatened enclosure amongst precariousness - that we make space and produce “openings” within... “cause that’s all we can do. There is this kind of structural container and the forces that are making living impossible and those define so much of these experiments of what living unfolds.”

Axis V explores this spatial experiment of projecting an outside from the within, and as Moten said “the constant renewal of the terms and conditions of that inside-outside opposition.” The constant temporal negotiation that what you escape from is always in some way after you.