Monday, March 14, 2005

William Pope.L

Another entry on the fly, since it's the last week of the quarter, exam time, meaning I have papers and stories to read and grade for days.
The Black Factory
To bide my mind, I imagine a dialogue between Jn.Ulrick Désert, Adrian Piper and William Pope.L. Can you hear it? I almost can....

To capture that phantom frequency, we have to tune to the proper signals. Let's try:

Here (Art images)
Here (On Research Channel TV)
Here (Underground Railroad Crawl in Maine)
Here (The Friendliest Black Artist in America)
Here (The Black Factory)
Here (The Black Factory v. 2)
Here (The Africana Q&A)

Seems "some things you can do with blackness."

Let me know what you hear(d).


  1. You know, I saw Pope L. give a talk last year (as The Friendliest Black Artist in America) in which he had us all (us all being a youngish, mostly white, group of artist) sing a song that ended with "I feel so white! Out of sight!" One of the best moments was when the talk ended, he read his comments, positioned by the slide machine, and just didn't say anything else. we sat there in the darkness looking at one slide for what seemed to be 10 minutes. The silence was only broken when one (white) art student announced that he had the urge to physically remove Pope L. from the room. Imagine the force of that kind of silence.

  2. Rogue D, I'm totally fascinated by your comment that the "one (white) art student announced that he had the urge to physically remove Pope.L from the room." Did he just blurt this out? Was Pope.L soliciting comments from the viewers/spectators? Had anyone else yelled anything out? This made me think about questions of decorum and protocol, and how in most lecture situations, particularly academic ones, a true free exchange of this sort, a real venting of your feelings about the talk doesn't happen. Pope.L appears, from what I can tell, to want to provoke this. Years ago, on two different occasions when I read with the Dark Room in DC, various audience members became quasi-disruptive. That is, they ruptured the usual social space that is established at such events. In the first, an Ascension reading, a person kept laughing audibly as I read a tragedy. It didn't jar me though, but it annoyed others. At the second, at 8 Rock, several guys grew upset when both Sharan Strange and I read poems dealing with AIDS and homosexuality. One even decided to improvise a masculinist piece on the drums afterwards! It was almost comical, but I thought, what if they'd just yelled things out? How would I have responded? What did I say--or was it the work itself, my performance of it--that provoked them? I want to catch Pope.L live, mos def!