People to be Resembling / The Third Part of the Third Measure
An evening with breathtaking essay films by The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun) on two major figures of avant-garde music: Don Cherry and Julius Eastman.
The Otolith Group’s People to be Resembling can be described as a five sided portrait of the methodologies of the post-free jazz, pre-world music trio Codona, founded by multi-instrumentalists Collin Walcott, Don Cherry, and Nana Vasconcelos in 1978. Consisting of stills by renowned photographers Roberto Masotti and Isio Saba, newly filmed and archival footage and original music performed by musician Charles Hayward (This Heat and Camberwell Now), People to be Resembling returns to 1978 in order to redream the recording process at Tonstudio Bauer as a meditation upon the relations between visual anthropology, anti-colonial choreography, nuclear annihilation and Weltmusik. In its arrangement of positive and negative with colour and black and white and still and moving imagery, The Otolith Groups stages an experiment in mnemonic cohabitation inspired by the visionary music of Codona.
From the late 1960s until his death in 1990 at the age of 50, Julius Eastman, the queer African-American avant-garde composer, pianist, vocalist and conductor wrote and performed compositions whose ecstatic militant minimalism initiated a black radical aesthetic that revolutionized the East Coast new music scene of the 1970s and 1980s. No recordings of Eastman’s compositions were released during his lifetime. In January 1980, Eastman was invited by the Music Department at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, to present his compositions Crazy Nigger (1978) Evil Nigger (1979) and Gay Guerrilla (1979) at the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. A number of African-American students and one faculty member at Northwestern University objected to the titles of Eastman’s compositions. These titles were redacted from the concert programme printed by the Music Department. Before the concert, on 16 January 1980, Eastman delivered a public statement that responded to these objections. The speeches delivered by Dante Micheaux and Elaine Mitchener in The Third Part of the Third Measure are based on each performer’s modified verbatim transcriptions of Eastman’s Northwestern University statement.
In collaboration with Courtisane, the Research Group General Literary Sciences and Cultural Studies, the Research Group Art History and Lieven Gevaert Centre & the Higher Institute for Philosophy (KU Leuven).
PEOPLE TO BE RESEMBLING
UK, 2012, HD video, colour, 22'
THE THIRD PART OF THE THIRD MEASURE
UK, 2017, HD video, colour, 43'