Exhibition
CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation


‘(…)

I am your fear

death and destruction

yes, I am your future

after you

I am the evolution of the species,

the tomorrow

the transcendental matter,

the perfect machine

the divine creation

here we are now
and we are here to stay

here and there

and everywhere

we will be resistance

the voice that can’t be silenced

the face of tomorrow

(…)’


Rampa

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July 3, 2020

21:30
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CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation, Installation view #1, Rampa 2020, Photography ©Vera Carmo ©Melissa Rodrigues
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CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation, Installation view #2, Rampa 2020, Photography ©Vera Carmo ©Melissa Rodrigues
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CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation, Installation view #3, Rampa 2020, Photography ©Vera Carmo ©Melissa Rodrigues
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CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation, Installation view #4, Rampa 2020, Photography ©Vera Carmo ©Melissa Rodrigues
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CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation, Installation view #5, Rampa 2020, Photography ©Vera Carmo ©Melissa Rodrigues

Rampa is honored to premier in Portugal the latest essay-performance by Melissa Rodrigues.  Completed during the residency program at ZK/U*, split between Berlin and Porto due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic, “CORONAS IN THE SKY, Not a Manifesto! an essay on Afrofuturism and Liberation” is simultaneously an activist poem and a reflection upon the effects of the speeding cycle of natural disasters brought about by global warming and late capitalism, and how they disproportionally impact racialized subjects, mirroring a long and fraught history of violence and dispossess. In this powerful essay, repetition and trauma are evoked in the cyclic return of the tragic, yet iconic last words of Eric Garner.

I can’t breathe.

The sentence is introduced upon the recall of a dream about drowning through which Rodrigues links Garner’s death to the thousands of lives lost during transatlantic voyages, inflicted by the slave trade. “Drowning in a sea of fire” is the next bend on the painful free-associative path, and here the spoken word brings us to images of lynching in the “gallant south”, in which fire and smoke fill the lungs of a hanging victim.

As the video-poem unfolds, Rodrigues forces the return of a legacy of condensed mental images, connecting them inexorably to the present, our present.  The noose is now viral, and survival is once again edging on skin-color.  No violence – not even “natural” violence – falls upon its victims in a random, even, or just split.  Just like Floyd repeated Garner’s words, and Covid kills like a rope, violence returns, hurting and killing the same people in a ritualized and nameless form.  It happens by design, not by chance, and so there is not only room, but also urgency for resistance and change.

They agreed to killing us, we agreed on not dying.

* ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin hosts this residency program under the umbrella of Magic Carpets Platform co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.

 

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4000-110 Porto, Portugal


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