Loophole of Retreat: A Conference Part 1 of 3

From a peephole in her grandmother’s garret that rests on her master’s property, a young woman watches while remaining concealed. Inspired by the autobiography of writer, abolitionist, and escaped slave girl Harriet Jacobs (1813-97), „Loophole of Retreat“ locates a space of creation within places of capture. This self-reflexive production of freedom within incarceration – a hidden reality carved from within the center of power – served as our metaphor for this convening. An international constellation of writers, artists, poets, filmmakers, academics, and activists came together for a daylong gathering dedicated to the intellectual life of black women. Invited by artist Simone Leigh, feminist scholar Tina Campt, and cultural historian Saidiya Hartman, participants responded through papers, readings, and performance.

Organized on the occasion of „The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat“. The Hugo Boss Prize and the exhibition are made possible by HUGO BOSS.

Order of appearance:
Tina Campt 00:45
Saidiya Hartman 07:13
Simone White 22:16
Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts 35:06
Rizvana Bradley 44:08
Andrianna Campbell 58:56

Participant bios:

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of History of Art and African American Studies at Yale University. Bradley’s research intersects with anticolonial politics, feminist and gender studies, continental philosophy, postcolonial theory, and aesthetic theory. Her writing appeared in Film Quarterly, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, TDR: The Drama Review, Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Parkett, and Art in America. She has also contributed writing to the New Museum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, ICA Philadelphia, Art Basel, the Berlin Biennale, and Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Andrianna Campbell is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Art History at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she specializes in modern and contemporary American art. Her doctoral research focuses on Norman Lewis and Abstract Expressionism. Alongside her scholarly research, she is the author of essays and reviews on contemporary art for Artforum, Art in America, and Frieze.

Tina Campt is Claire Tow and Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Africana and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College-Columbia University. She is a cultural historian and black feminist theorist of visual culture, whose published work explores gender, racial, and diasporic formation in black communities in the US, Europe, and South Africa.

Saidiya Hartman is the author of „Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America“ (Oxford, 1997), „Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route“ (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007), and „Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments“ (Norton, 2019). She is at work on a new book project, „N Folio: An Essay on Narrative and the Archive“. She has published articles on slavery, history and the archive, and black women’s lives, including “Venus in Two Acts” and “The Belly of the World.” She is a Guggenheim Fellow for 2018–19 and a professor at Columbia University.

Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts is the author of „Harlem Is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America“. It was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2011 and a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and Bookforum named it the “best New York book” written since the magazine’s founding. She is working on a trilogy on African Americans and utopia that explores Harlem, Haiti, and the Black Belt of the American South.

Simone White is a poet, teacher and critic. She is the author of the collections „Dear Angel of Death“ (2018), „Of Being Dispersed“ (2016) and „House Envy of All the World“ (2010), and the chapbooks „Unrest“ (2013) and „Dolly“ (2008). Her work has also appeared in Artforum, e-flux, BOMB, Frieze and the New York Times Book Review. In 2017, she won the Whiting Award for Poetry. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania.


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