Medien|Denken – Kodwo Eshun – Handsworth Songs as Black Industrialism (Audio)

22.10.2020 | KODWO ESHUN (Goldsmiths, University of London / GB)

Handsworth Songs as Black Industrialism


In conversation with Kobena Mercer in 2016, John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison of Black Audio Film Collective characterised the Collective’s 1982 slide tape work Expeditions: Signs of Empire and Images of Nationality in terms of ‘a sonic back- drop which one could only call “black industrial’. In the Second Lecture, this notion is extended beyond Expeditions so to argue that the Collective continued to pursue the notion of a black industrial aesthetic towards Handsworth Songs and beyond. To hear Handsworth Songs from the perspective of the British industrial music culture of the late 1970s and 1980s is to rethink the parameters of audio in the Collective’s theorization of the becoming of black audio film collectivity. The idea of black audio can be heard as a cinesonic ecology in which the seditionary effects of punk, the mutational effect of post-punk and the blacklessness of industrial music converge to constitute an aesthetic sociality that works to reconfigure the frontier effects that reproduced the cine-culture of the British Left along the informally segregated racialised aesthetics of twentieth century British cinema.

Biographical Note

Dr. Kodwo Eshun is Lecturer in Contemporary Art Theory at Department of Visual Culture, Goldsmiths, University of London, Visiting Professor, Haut Ecole d’Art et Design, Genève and co-founder of The Otolith Group. He is co-editor of The Fisher Function, 2017, Post Punk Then and Now, 2016, The Militant Image: A Cine-Geography: Third Text Vol 25 Issue, 2011, Harun Farocki Against What? Against Whom, 2010 and The Ghosts of Songs: The Film Art of the Black Audio Film Collective 1982–1998, 2007 and author of Dan Graham: Rock My Religion, Afterall, 2012, and More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction forthcoming on Verso, 2021.

IfM - Institut für Medienwissenschaft
IfM – Institut für Medienwissenschaft
Medien|Denken – Kodwo Eshun – Handsworth Songs as Black Industrialism

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Ida Aileen Brockel