In the wake of ongoing upheaval brought on by a global pandemic and acts of refusal and rebellion in the face of historical and persistent state sanctioned extinguishment of black life enacted in streets and in homes, HOME interrogates nationally situated and diasporic discourses around housing, domesticity, invasion, intimacy, and the making of home. We ask (among many interrogations): what does it mean to give your home away constantly? How will we live together? Is home where the hatred is? And whether or not “it might not be such a bad idea if we never went home again”?
Originally planned for spring 2020 and postponed due to the rise of the novel Coronavirus, HOME makes space for presentations, experiments, and provocations to be shared by current students, emerging scholars, artists, and practitioners around questions of living, belonging, movement, housing, displacement, and blackness. Participants include: dee(dee) c. ardan, Dalima Kapten, Samantha Pavic, Sydney Maubert, Cory Archie, Teron Bowman II, and Teonna Cooksey, who will present work in two panels followed by responses offered and discussions moderated by Alicia Ajayi and Elleza Kelley. A keynote presentation will be shared by Emmanuel Olunkwa, with a response by Emanuel Admassu. This one-day symposium is hosted by the Black Student Alliance at Columbia GSAPP [BSA+GSAPP], and organized, with Elleza Kelley, by Ife Salema Vanable.
“Home” conjures a range of signifiers both material and nonmaterial; at once conceptual, cultural and deeply personal. Home has always been the sentimental, emotional, and narrative component of the house—as Luther Vandross famously sang, “a house is not a home.” But what does home mean today in a world at once wrenched apart and dizzyingly compressed by imperialism, globalization, capitalism, and migration? What does home mean today in the shadow of climate crisis, homelessness, and vast wealth disparity? What does home mean for black people living “in the wake” of an institution that once considered them property, commodities, objects in the inventory of someone else’s home? An institution where personhood was determined by land ownership, expropriation, enclosure and settlement? How do we contend today with the practice of building and living on stolen land? And in the midst of these realities and histories, how has home been forged, invented, and projected—“made”?
Whether wielded rhetorically as a tool for nationalism, deconstructed as a myth that upholds relations of capitalism, heteronormativity and white supremacism, or as a fraught and shifting center of discourses on immigration, indigeneity, and settlement, the concept of home has long been at the center of debate for scholars and practitioners who consider space and place. While imagined as a site of privacy, protection and respite, the intimate domestic relations of black life at home have long been intervened upon by institutional and state authority, from the Moynihan report to urban renewal, from Regan-era “Welfare Queens,” to the spate of black Americans who have recently been assaulted and killed in their own homes by state sanctioned violence.
Where the house may be elusive and freighted by notions of ownership, the idea of home nonetheless conjures familiarity, a deep sense of knowing, desire, nostalgia, and longing. For those who have had to make home out of the uninhabitable, home has always also included resourcefulness, pleasure, creativity and freedom. As such, we pose these questions with keen attention to those who have made and continue to make home outside of and in spite of the “house.” As a distinctly gendered territory, how have black women, in particular, labored to yet and still make home a vital refuge from white supremacy and the dictates of patriarchy? What has constituted the “wayward lives and beautiful experiments" in domestic relations launched by those making home beyond the dictates of respectability, normative arrangements or bounds of law, figuring what it means to live (a free life)?
10:00 a.m. EST
Welcome & Opening Remarks Ife Salema Vanable, Columbia GSAPP and Elleza Kelley, Yale University
Panel One: The Poetics of (Black) Space: Freedom, Belonging, Refusal
dee(dee) c. ardan, the killing room floor, “apposition [x]tet ‘of every Where, of any place,’ or homegoin’ blues”
Dalima Ndunde Kapten, Kansas Univ. School of Architecture and Design, “NATIVE ANOMALY - A Poetry Chapbook”
Sydney Maubert, Yale University, “Theft of the Body: Taino Towers”
Response/Discussion Moderated by Elleza Kelley, Yale University
12:25 p.m. EST
Panel Two: Surface/Safety/Shelter: Reclaiming Home
Samantha Pavic, University of Zagreb, Zaha Hadid Architects, “POKER FAC(AD)E” (POKERinggoldFaithAC(AdjayeDavid)E)
Teron Bowman II, Kansas Univ. School of Architecture and Design, “HOMELESS”
Teonna Cooksey, Columbia GSAPP, “The Women’s Empowerment Network: In Search of Home”
Response/Discussion Moderated by Alicia Ajayi, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Columbia GSAPP
2:15 p.m. EST
Keynote Presentation by Emmanuel Olunkwa
Response by Emanuel Admassu, Columbia GSAPP
Closing Remarks Ife Salema Vanable, Columbia GSAPP and Elleza Kelley, Yale University
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