Event Title

Time of Riots: Temporality of Fire in Politics and Arts

Session

Integrated Design

Description

Poet Amiri Baraka remembering race and class riots in Newark in 1967 wrote: “the spirit and feeling of the moment a rebellion breaks out is almost indescribable. Everything seems to be in zoom motion, crashing towards some explosive manifestation. As Lenin said, time is speeded up, what takes years is done in days, in real revolution. In rebellion life goes to 156 rpm and the song is the police siren accompanying people's breathless shouts and laughter.” (Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of Leroi Jones, 1984, p. 259-260). Baraka goes on to describe this moment not only as political novelty, which shattered his conceptualisation of black identity (“black hurricane”), but also as something which transformed this very identity through political contradictions that have had unforeseen and different heuristic forms (“a higher stage that can only be brought about by fire”). My aim is to reflect on this moment of transformation which Baraka has described as “going through fire” with philosophical conceptualisations of temporality borrowed from Walter Benjamin, especially through his historical-materialist concept of “state of emergency.” The state of emergency, or now-time (“the time of fire”) as temporality loaded with contradictions is, as Peter Osborne has put “a mode of interruption (refiguration) of the narrative continuity of its everyday form” (Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time, 1994, p. 156). This conceptualisation will allow me, following writings of John Roberts, to discuss the intersection of singular temporalities of revolutions and art works, as interruptions of everyday life forms: “from 1917 the 'everyday life' is subject to an extraordinary theoretical elaboration and scrutiny that largely shapes the content of the concept through the twentieth century” (John Roberts, Philosophizing the Everyday, 2006, p. 20). It is largely accepted that the temporal singularity of 1917 revolution was condition also of avant-garde artistic “refigurations”. In the first part of my paper I want to discuss the philosophical and theoretical conditions of distinctiveness of the revolutionary temporality and its conjunction with the artistic experimental forms. Particularly I will refer to moments of decolonization and race riots and their theoreticians such as Frantz Fanon, Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Amilcal Cabral, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall and Amiri Baraka.

The second part of my paper will discuss how the temporal singularity of revolutions and riots takes shape as an art form. Amiri Baraka, after claiming the massive and transforming experience of Newark riots, states that it was a moment un-representable in any possible art form (“a scale no musician could plumb”). But he adds that in Newark riots he has understood what John Coltrane and Albert Ayler's noises and blows really meant. Free Jazz (or Fire Jazz) for Amiri Baraka is something that offered a completely new grammar, expression and conceptualisation of non-ideological political articulation (as he discussed with terms of horizontal egalitarian articulation against vertical class society machine). My aim is to discuss the Free Jazz noise exactly from the point of this articulation as something indispensably emancipated from everyday life temporalities. In order to do this I will extensively use writings of Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones on jazz, particularly his Blues People and Black Music books (especially former which is crucial in understanding many appropriations of black radical thought, as for example in Jean-Luc Godard's film One Plus One/Symphathy for Devil), which depart from the thesis that political articulation of Free Jazz is possible because inherent temporal form that it carries is open to a radical futurity. Similarly Jacques Attali in his seminal book Noise: Political Economy of Music articulates noise as political intelligibility as radical futurity, and so does Kodwo Eshun in More Brillian than the Sun, which is study of “afro diasporic futurism” through the experimental sound of Alice Coltrane. In these theoretical elaborations the noise and Free Jazz (something which Attali is keen on) is not discussed as a representation of politics; but more as production of new political articulation which is based on artistic intelligibility and is a result of formal innovation and openness. Another instance to discuss this position would be Guy Debord's writings and films dealing with “times of riots”, most notably Critique of Separation and Society of Spectacle. What is stunning is that Debord's conceptualisation of riots as novel political articulation is based on his analysis (Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity) of 1965 race riots in Watts, Los Angeles, which was also a turning point for Amiri Baraka. His films are proof of this conceptualisation, which recently Jason E. Smith described as conflict between “empty time of everyday life and fleeting intensity of the riot.” (Jason E. Smith, Missed Encounters, Grey Room No.62, 2013, p. 77).

As a conclusion I will refer to a recent race riots in the suburbs of Stockholm and an art-project (paper-film) that I co-authored with Minna L. Henriksson, which conceptualise these riots through the heurism of noise and temporality of singular refigurations.

Session Chair

Ajhan Bajmaku, Artrit Bytyçi

Proceedings Editor

Edmond Hajrizi

ISBN

978-9951-550-19-2

Location

Pristina, Kosovo

Start Date

26-10-2019 11:00 AM

End Date

26-10-2019 12:30 PM

DOI

10.33107/ubt-ic.2019.18

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Oct 26th, 11:00 AM Oct 26th, 12:30 PM

Time of Riots: Temporality of Fire in Politics and Arts

Pristina, Kosovo

Poet Amiri Baraka remembering race and class riots in Newark in 1967 wrote: “the spirit and feeling of the moment a rebellion breaks out is almost indescribable. Everything seems to be in zoom motion, crashing towards some explosive manifestation. As Lenin said, time is speeded up, what takes years is done in days, in real revolution. In rebellion life goes to 156 rpm and the song is the police siren accompanying people's breathless shouts and laughter.” (Amiri Baraka, The Autobiography of Leroi Jones, 1984, p. 259-260). Baraka goes on to describe this moment not only as political novelty, which shattered his conceptualisation of black identity (“black hurricane”), but also as something which transformed this very identity through political contradictions that have had unforeseen and different heuristic forms (“a higher stage that can only be brought about by fire”). My aim is to reflect on this moment of transformation which Baraka has described as “going through fire” with philosophical conceptualisations of temporality borrowed from Walter Benjamin, especially through his historical-materialist concept of “state of emergency.” The state of emergency, or now-time (“the time of fire”) as temporality loaded with contradictions is, as Peter Osborne has put “a mode of interruption (refiguration) of the narrative continuity of its everyday form” (Peter Osborne, The Politics of Time, 1994, p. 156). This conceptualisation will allow me, following writings of John Roberts, to discuss the intersection of singular temporalities of revolutions and art works, as interruptions of everyday life forms: “from 1917 the 'everyday life' is subject to an extraordinary theoretical elaboration and scrutiny that largely shapes the content of the concept through the twentieth century” (John Roberts, Philosophizing the Everyday, 2006, p. 20). It is largely accepted that the temporal singularity of 1917 revolution was condition also of avant-garde artistic “refigurations”. In the first part of my paper I want to discuss the philosophical and theoretical conditions of distinctiveness of the revolutionary temporality and its conjunction with the artistic experimental forms. Particularly I will refer to moments of decolonization and race riots and their theoreticians such as Frantz Fanon, Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Amilcal Cabral, Paul Gilroy, Stuart Hall and Amiri Baraka.

The second part of my paper will discuss how the temporal singularity of revolutions and riots takes shape as an art form. Amiri Baraka, after claiming the massive and transforming experience of Newark riots, states that it was a moment un-representable in any possible art form (“a scale no musician could plumb”). But he adds that in Newark riots he has understood what John Coltrane and Albert Ayler's noises and blows really meant. Free Jazz (or Fire Jazz) for Amiri Baraka is something that offered a completely new grammar, expression and conceptualisation of non-ideological political articulation (as he discussed with terms of horizontal egalitarian articulation against vertical class society machine). My aim is to discuss the Free Jazz noise exactly from the point of this articulation as something indispensably emancipated from everyday life temporalities. In order to do this I will extensively use writings of Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones on jazz, particularly his Blues People and Black Music books (especially former which is crucial in understanding many appropriations of black radical thought, as for example in Jean-Luc Godard's film One Plus One/Symphathy for Devil), which depart from the thesis that political articulation of Free Jazz is possible because inherent temporal form that it carries is open to a radical futurity. Similarly Jacques Attali in his seminal book Noise: Political Economy of Music articulates noise as political intelligibility as radical futurity, and so does Kodwo Eshun in More Brillian than the Sun, which is study of “afro diasporic futurism” through the experimental sound of Alice Coltrane. In these theoretical elaborations the noise and Free Jazz (something which Attali is keen on) is not discussed as a representation of politics; but more as production of new political articulation which is based on artistic intelligibility and is a result of formal innovation and openness. Another instance to discuss this position would be Guy Debord's writings and films dealing with “times of riots”, most notably Critique of Separation and Society of Spectacle. What is stunning is that Debord's conceptualisation of riots as novel political articulation is based on his analysis (Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity) of 1965 race riots in Watts, Los Angeles, which was also a turning point for Amiri Baraka. His films are proof of this conceptualisation, which recently Jason E. Smith described as conflict between “empty time of everyday life and fleeting intensity of the riot.” (Jason E. Smith, Missed Encounters, Grey Room No.62, 2013, p. 77).

As a conclusion I will refer to a recent race riots in the suburbs of Stockholm and an art-project (paper-film) that I co-authored with Minna L. Henriksson, which conceptualise these riots through the heurism of noise and temporality of singular refigurations.