Chicago Cultural Center presents HUB conversations: “Speculative Black Bodies”

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Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room
February 13, 2015; 10am – 11:30am

Free and open to the public

Panelists: Rashayla Marie Brown; Kai M. Green; Anna Martine Whitehead
Moderator: Ross Jordan


A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, artist/scholar Rashayla Marie Brown manages a living studio practice across an extensive list of cultural production modes. Exploiting the role of the artist as both an agent and an object of desire, her work spans photographic and video-based image-making; performance and social engagement/disruption; curation and installation; and theoretical writings infused with autobiography, subjectivity, and spirituality. Her journey as a professional artist began as a radio DJ performing research in London, England and as founder of the family-owned design company Selah Vibe, Inc. in Atlanta, GA. Brown currently serves as the inaugural Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), fostering queer Afrofeminist narratives across institutions.

Brown holds a BA in Sociology and African-American Studies from Yale University, advised by Paul Gilroy, and a BFA from SAIC, advised by Barbara DeGenevieve. Her work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; University of Chicago; and Yale University; among others. Her work has also been featured at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Calumet Gallery, New York, NY; Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received numerous awards, including the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship, Chicago Artist Coalition’s BOLT Residency, the Propeller Fund, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant.


Kai M. Green is a writer, scholar, poet, filmmaker, abolitionist, feminist and whatever else it takes to make a new and more just world. For the past six years, he lived in Los Angeles building locally with Black LGBT communities, while also working to complete his dissertation, “Into the Darkness: A Black Queer (Re)Membering of Los Angeles in a Time of Crises.” Kai completed his graduate work at The University of Southern California in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. He also received graduate certificates in Gender Studies and Visual Anthropology. Kai is invested in developing models of healthy and loving Black masculinities. Through writing and organizing Kai has become a strong, visible voice in the Black Trans community and in the LGBT community generally. As a leader, teacher, and scholar, he is committed to raising consciousness around self-care, self-love, sexual health, emotional health, sexual and state violence, healthy masculinities, and Black feminism. He believes that writing and story telling are revolutionary acts, especially for those who are often erased by heteronormative and Eurocentric histories. His goal is not simply to be a voice for the people; his goal is to always be making space and room for others to share their own truths and find their own voices. Kai is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sexuality Studies and African American Studies at Northwestern.


Anna Martine Whitehead is an artist, writer, choreographer, and curator. She makes solos and collaborative work interrogating race, gender, time, and loss at the limits of performance.

Anna Martine has shown work extensively in the San Francisco Bay Area; as well as The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; AUNTS in Brooklyn; Pieter, homeLA, and Watts Towers Art Center in Los Angeles; and galleribob in Goteburg, Sweden. In addition to her choreographic and solo work, Martine has worked collaboratively with or made significant contributions to the work of Keith Hennessy, Jesse Hewit, Jefferson Pinder, taisha paggett, Julien Previeux, and Spiral Q Puppet Theater. She is a contributor to itch dance journal and writes ‘Endurance Tests,’ a recurring column in Art Practical exploring creative practices of the African Diaspora. She will be featured in the forthcoming anthology Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance, and is releasing a chapbook through Thread Makes Blanket Press later this year. She has co-produced VAST LANDSCAPE, an ongoing open sound-and-movement studio in LA and Chicago; and movement//movement, a social justice based practice space in Detroit via the Allied Media Conference.

Anna Martine holds an MFA from California College of the Arts and has lectured there as well as at Cal State East Bay. Visit for more.


Ross Jordan is an Assistant Director of Exhibitions in the Department of Exhibitions and Exhibitions Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago(SAIC). He is currently developing the Presidential Library Project, an exhibition that is the Obama Presidential Center designed and populated by artists and the Beer Summit conversation series that brings together cultural producers and issues of politics and policy. Ross has also curated independent exhibitions including: Surface Place, The Clemente, New York (2015); Outro: Go Play Outside!, Acre Projects, Chicago (2015); Megan Moe Beitiks: Observations of Final States in Interactions, Water Street Studios, Batavia, IL. (2015); Haptic, Adult Contemporary, Chicago, (2014); BYOBeamer, Co-prosperity Sphere, Chicago (2013); In/visible, Co-prosperity Sphere, Chicago (2012); Transfusions Performance Event, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2012). Ross holds dual masters degrees in art history and arts administration/policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


The HUB is a place for the IN>TIME festival to gather and reflect. It is a series of discussion panels, a place for writers and thinkers to deeply engage in the performance work in the festival, and for the artists to expand upon their work. It is another way for us to be present with one another and come together for a moment in performance.

Speculative Black Bodies addresses intersections of justice, fantasy, and queer Black performance. We’ll primarily be considering the following:
What does queer/Black performativity have to do with our current political moment?
How can we use performance/performing arts to address violence/loss or even cultivate safety?
What bridges do queer Black performers need to build right now beyond their immediate communities (this is a question about allies and coalition building)?

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