The Noon Sirens: Out of Dark Noise

Anaïs Duplan

June 6, 2022, 6pm at Amant homepage

Out of Dark Noise is an online lecture performance on Black experimental documentary. Anaïs Duplan live-narrates excavated and abstracted rap music videos, sometimes detached from their original audio and left isolated as visual media, as an ad hoc spoken commentary. The lecture performance was realized as an intervention on our homepage (amant.org) on June 6, 2022.

This interaction with archival videos draws on the historic and cultural specificity of the material but also integrates live commentary from the audience. This form of reading and being read attempts to make space for collectively reading the material for its affect and emotion, following a mode practiced by Édouard Glissant, Fred Moten, and Simone Wright. By removing the original sound from the videos, Out of Dark Noise prompts a type of live poethics. Used by artists and writers such as Rhea Dillon and Joan Retallack, poethics speaks to an aesthetic of complexity and calls for taking responsibility for chance. The addition of an ‘h’ introduces an ethical dimension and thickens ‘poetics’, offering the possibility that art is a form of living in the world.

This performance aims to produce a site of relationality, feeling, and collective resonance. As a poethics it considers responsibility to and for the other as opposed to the traditionally forceful ethics of universal rules of community. Out of Dark Noise’s aftermath, as a silent visual collage, leaves space for continual reading and collective reflection over the duration of SIREN (some poetics).

Out of Dark Noise is part of The Noon Sirens, an online intervention curated by Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot as accompaniment to SIREN (some poetics)

Image: Anaïs Duplan, Screenshot from The Lovers Are the Audience Who Watch, 2018.

Anaïs Duplan, Screenshot from The Lovers Are the Audience Who Watch, 2018, Image courtesy the artist
Anaïs Duplan, Screenshot from The Lovers Are the Audience Who Watch, 2018, Image courtesy the artist
Anaïs Duplan, Screenshot from The Lovers Are the Audience Who Watch, 2018, Image courtesy the artist

About the artist

Anaïs Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of I NEED MUSIC (Action Books, 2021), a book of essays, Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020), a full-length poetry collection, Take This Stallion (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016), and a chapbook, Mount Carmel and the Blood of Parnassus (Monster House Press, 2017).

He is a professor of postcolonial literature at Bennington College, and has taught poetry at The New School, Columbia University, and Sarah Lawrence College, amongst others. As an independent curator, he has facilitated curatorial projects in Chicago, Boston, Santa Fe, and Reykjavík. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and in 2021 received a Marian Goodman fellowship from Independent Curators International for his research on Black experimental documentary. He is the recipient of the 2021 QUEER|ART|PRIZE for Recent Work, and a 2022 Whiting Award in Nonfiction.

In 2016, Duplan founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One.

About The Noon Sirens

The Noon Sirens invites Johanna Hedva, Lara Mimosa Montez and others to occupy Amant’s digital spaces ahead of and during SIREN (some poetics), curated by Quinn Latimer.

If SIREN (some poetics) recognizes the siren as both a warning of danger and the danger itself, The Noon Sirens will act as a precursor to this fact. While much has been said of the fluidity of digital space, it remains a deeply contested water. The Noon Sirens anticipates the trouble. The artists and writers are invited to challenge the dominance of ‘universal’ languages, resist data’s absolutization of knowledge, where numbers speak for themselves and regress the violence of accelerated digital communication. Just as there is no neutral voice, there is no neutral space, and these artists consider the territories they occupy and what a de-colonization of the digital might be.

As a dispersed, yet connected set of events, The Noon Sirens ensure the efficacy of the siren. Whilst digital territories can be liberatory spaces for self-expression and participation, enabling us to speak up and speak out to the world online, in doing so there, our dissenting voices too frequently reify the very problems we intend to critique. These kinds of complicities do not warrant refusal or withdrawal but radical reorganization. The Noon Sirens looks to establish discrepant relations to these spaces and asks how language might be able to resist capture, re-balance the distribution of rights, and trouble our relations to power.

This is not an attempt to rise above complicity but forge a radical one by recognizing the disposition of the terrain and occupying it more fugitively than before. Testing, waiting, living through, and contending with the siren.

Hana Noorali & Lynton Talbot, curators