How do we engage a contemporary visual archive of blackness that is saturated by the proliferation and mass circulation of images of violence, antiblackness, and premature death? This article explores the labor required by visual enactments of black precarity in the work of filmmaker and cinematographer Arthur Jafa. The labor of black precarity—specifically, the work required to cultivate, maintain, or articulate our relationship to black precarity—is the effort required to position oneself in proximity to, or in a place of discomfort and, for some, potential complicity with, black precarity. The article stages an encounter with the affective registers of refusal enacted in a genre of black visuality defined as still-moving-images. Still-moving-images hover between still and moving images and require the affective labor of feeling with or through them. The article concludes by expanding the discussion of Jafa’s still-moving-images into a broader enunciation of the author’s theory of hapticity, a term that articulates the labor of feeling across difference and suffering as an effortful practice of exertion and struggle to remain in relation to or in contact or connection with another.
Social Text – Duke University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2019