CFP – “Suspension”

liquid blackness: journal of aesthetics and black studies 7, no. 2, Fall 2023

In 2017, the liquid blackness research group published its last issue entirely produced at Georgia State University, liquid blackness vol. 4, no. 7, titled “Holding Blackness: Aesthetics of Suspension<>.” The issue’s theme was a response to our research<> onto Kahlil Joseph’s practice conducted the previous year. Partly inspired by Lauren McLeod Cramer’s reading of “icons of catastrophe” in his work—that is, the way in which the architecture of his filmmaking activates the joints between blackness and anti-blackness— “suspension” offered a way to reflect on what, in the same issue, Daren Fowler writing on Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016) described as a “praxis for the ethics of black liquidity.” As a whole, the issue engaged with artistic practices and aesthetic modes of:

  *   Holding
  *   Lifting
  *   Elevating
  *   Halting
  *   Withholding
  *   Deferring
  *   Delaying
  *   Deflecting
  *   Defying
  *   Disrupting
  *   Refusing
  *   Unmooring

Here we invite to think about suspension as a hermeneutic or operation that functions as a theoretical and methodological pivot, a relay, a pause, or a sigh (Crawford, “What Time Is It When You Are Black? on Claudia Rankine). In other words, rather than a concept, suspension might point to what Harney and Moten describe as an undercommon of the concept (All Incomplete), and, as such, an orientation and investment into making concepts work in a way they do not normally do.

For instance: Are black socialities modes of suspension? Is black study its practice? Can the contemporary moment of profound imbrications between black popular culture and high art be characterized as hinging on, or envisioning, strategies of suspension? To what extent does suspension invoke the stakes of what Andrè Lepecki has called the political ontology of movement? Is the suspension or illegibility of movement/motion/emotion always also a practice of fugitivity? Or is it still tethered to dreams of sovereignty and their delusions? What spatial and temporal configurations, what architectures and modes of engagement are needed to suspend relentless encroachments, predetermined scripts, and unending demands?

Additionally, suspension can help identify sites, moments, and modes where the tension between the extractive and jurisgenerative poles of liquidity are placed at a distance or held in some form of temporary, if precarious, balance. Indeed, while “flow” is one of the promises of liquidity it is also one of its primary delusions. And while for R.A. Judy (Sentient Flesh and “The Unfungible Flow of Liquid Blackness”) flow is a mark of invention and improvisation within what he calls “poiesis in black,” for Harney and Moten uninterrupted flow is one of the central demands of capital, the white science of logistics. As they write in All Incomplete, “Capital only wants to run things smoothly, which is to say universally” (115). Thus, while suspension might suggest stasis, inaction, slowness, and refusal—that is, it might offer “loopholes of retreat” (Harriet Jacobs, Simone Leigh et al.)—it might also open up to a poetics of “queer times and black futures” (Kara Keeling).

We invite submissions from a variety of disciplinary formations that engage with, creatively respond to, as well as add to the following:

  *   Suspension as reflection on the praxis for an ethics of black liquidity and black study
  *   Suspension and the ontopolitics of movement
  *   Suspension and black fugitivity
  *   Suspension in “still acts”
  *   Suspension as halting, pausing, sighing
  *   Suspension and the demand to be held
  *   Suspension and modes of care
  *   Suspension as abandon
  *   Suspension and the ecstatic
  *   Suspension between form, formlessness, and informality
  *   Suspension between position/im-position/appositionality
  *   Suspension and architectures of anti-blackness
  *   Suspension and the racialized governance of space and place
  *   Suspension and aesthetics of disordering

Submissions Due: September 1, 2022 (send to [log in to unmask])

Author Guidelines & Submission Information

  *   Submission Types:
     *   Traditional essays: approx. 3-5,000 words (including footnotes)—all essays should be accompanied by at least one image. (Please consider “fair use” of visual materials included, as you draft your piece and please consult previous journal issues for inspiration on how to be in dialog with visual materials)
     *   We welcome submissions of interviews, visual and textual art, video, and other artistic work. Before submitting, please send your inquiries/proposals to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
     *   Questions about the length, style, format of experimental submissions can be directed to [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
  *   liquid blackness follows the formatting and reference guidelines stipulated by The Chicago Manual of Style
  *   All submissions, solicited and unsolicited, will be peer-reviewed
  *   Media Specifications
     *   We welcome the submission of media files such as video or sound clips, which will be published as supplementary data. The following audio and video file types are acceptable as supplementary data files and supported by our online platform: .mp3, .mp4, .wav, .wma, .au, .m4a, .mpg, .mpeg, .mov, .avi, .wmv., html.
     *   Executable files (.exe) are not acceptable.
     *   There is no restriction on the number of files per article or on the size of files; however, please keep in mind that very large files may be problematic for readers with slow connection speeds.
     *   Please ensure that each video or audio clip is called out in the text of the article, much like how a figure or table is called out: e.g., “see supplementary audio file 1.”


About liquid blackness<>

  *   liquid blackness is an open-access journal, which means that all content is freely available without charge to readers or their institutions.
  *   Our Editorial Board, Associate Editors, and Advisory Board<>

Mission Statement

The liquid blackness journal seeks to carve out a place for aesthetic theory and the most radical agenda of Black Studies to come together in productive ways, with a double goal: to fully attend to the aesthetic work of blackness and to the political work of form. In this way, the journal strives to develop innovative approaches and analytic tools to address points of convergence between the exigencies of black life and the many slippery ways in which blackness is encountered in contemporary sonic and visual culture.

liquid blackness aims to establish a point of exchange at the intersection of multiple fields. The history of this intentionally undisciplined space is best understood through a series of questions pivoting around (1) the relationship between aesthetics and the ontology of blackness and (2) the generative potential of blackness as an aesthetic. If blackness is, as we argue after Fred Moten, an unregulated generative force, then the liquid blackness journal seeks to offer a dedicated space where it can be consistently unleashed. As we extend and confront lines of inquiry from a number of research fields, our approach is equally concerned with theoretical content, analytical methods, and scholarly praxis.

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