Screening: Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: an Opera

Witte de With and the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) are pleased to present a screening of Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: an Opera by HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, a multidisciplinary artists collective of the African diaspora. This screening is a prelude to the collective’s upcoming exhibition (22 May – 23 August) at Witte de With, which is curated in association with Sienna Shields, Christa Bell, and Nana Adusei-Poku, Witte de With’s 2015 Curatorial Fellow. Prior to the screening Adusei-Poku will give a short introduction to the film. Afterwards there will be an informal conversation with the artists in the Cinérama lounge.

Good Stock on the Dimension Floor: an Opera is a 34-part film-poem that reinterprets the traditional opera to pose a central question: “What happens to the black body when it is haunted by ‘a blackness,’ outside of it?” The spoken, chanted, sung, and screamed libretto (written by poet Dawn Lundy Martin) explores the consequences of centuries of global racial strife that are thrust upon on those born of African descent. The narrative of the opera is nonlinear, ultimately extending into an imagined future in which identities are evolving with multiplicity with resistance to simple labels.

The film was shot in multiple, highly-crafted film locations in and around New York City, Alaska, Washington D.C., California, Florida, Berlin and Paris. Many of the film sets are comprised of sculptural installations and reflective surfaces, often with footage of previous sets projected frontally. This layering of sculptural form and imagery disrupts the possibility of a linear narrative and pushes the film toward abstraction. “Good Stock,” wants to decentralize representation as a way of knowing what cannot be known: “the black body.”

“The role of abstraction in the contemporary black avant-garde seems necessary as we are bodies that are mis-recognized, overly-recognized, put into tiny boxes as being X or Z… It’s about stepping out of social and cultural constraints of “blackness” and into the imagined future, a refusal to adhere to the idea that we can be known” Dawn Lundy Martin




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