October 9, 2020, 12:00 PM Eastern
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Picturing an Uprising
What is at stake when documenting state violence and political resistance, and what are the consequences – for the state, for political movements, for journalists and photographers, and for the individuals being documented? How do aesthetics bear on political practice, and what role do different forms of media play? Join Aja Arnold and Meredith Kooi of the Mainline and photographers Brandon English and Davion Alston for a discussion about their working practices, strategy, and aesthetic choices while documenting the current uprising against anti-Black state violence.
Brandon English is a New York-based visual artist and journalist interested in contemporary abolitionist practices and how they intersect with vestiges of vernacular image-making. Having worked as a photo-journalist for nearly a decade in Atlanta, he currently finds himself aiming to philosophically/aesthetically shed his normative journalistic practices in search of a more abolitionist discipline. www.brandon-english.format.com
Aja Arnold is a journalist, reporter, and cultural critic. She is the founding editor and owner of local, independent magazine the Mainline in Atlanta, Ga., founded in May 2019. She received her Bachelor’s in Journalism with a Minor in Sociology from Georgia State University in 2018 and worked as a contributor at Creative Loafing Atlanta from 2017-2019. Forever finding the balance between journalism and advocacy, Aja serves as an activist in the form of movement media, utilizing her skills and education in social issues to properly and thoroughly address the systemic issues affecting us in our lives today. Her mission is to provide important context that typical newsrooms and outlets don’t provide, especially as it pertains to human rights, social movements, and U.S. politics. www.mainlinezine.com
Meredith Kooi is an artist, arts administrator, curator, educator, scholar, and critic. She currently serves as the Operations Manager + Art Director of Print Publications for the Mainline and teaches Art History in carceral institutions for Common Good Atlanta. Focusing on the histories of place and self, Meredith uses performance, radio, audio, installation, drawing, writing, and the web, among other mediums to examine the complex layers of our physical, psychological, and social condition. In her cultural criticism work, she engages institutional and social critique drawing on feminism and critical race theory. She received her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is about to complete her PhD in the now-defunct Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts at Emory. She’s the last one standing. www.meredithkooi.us
Davion Alston‘s education is from Georgia State University with a BFA in Studio. Life is currently Davion’s university, and he uses the Coast of Georgia to understand what is ingrained, rooted, and untethered to the anthropological history of identity, here in Atlanta. Davion works intimately, quietly, and collectively. His practice is multidisciplinary for when life calls for it, but typically interdisciplinary within the photographic canon of understanding. Future exhibitions include the 2021 Atlanta Biennial at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and Davion’s first solo museum exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, as a 2021 Working Artist Project Recipient. www.davionalston.com
Moderated by Sasha Tycko, PhD student in Anthropology at Emory University
Cover photo by Davion Alston
Sponsored by the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry
We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for its support of this program. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these seminars do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.