Book Cover, "Dark Matter: On the Surveillance of Blackness" by Simone Browne.

Join us for the first of three events in which Bard Graduate Center faculty member Drew Thompson explores the Polaroid as an object of Black material culture. In this conversation, Thompson is joined by Simone Browne, sociologist and author of Dark Matter: On the Surveillance of Blackness, and the acclaimed contemporary artist American Artist.

Simone Browne is associate professor of Black studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently writing her second book manuscript which examines the interventions made by artists whose works grapple with the surveillance of Black life, from policing, privacy, smart dust and the FBI’s COINTELPRO; to encryption, electronic waste and artificial intelligence. Together, these essays explore the productive possibilities of creative innovation when it comes to troubling surveillance and its various tactics and imagining Black life beyond the surveillance state. Browne is the author of Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.

Drew Thompson is associate professor of Black studies and visual culture at Bard Graduate Center, where he researches and teaches in the areas of African and Black diaspora visual and material culture. Curating exhibitions is a fundamental part of his teaching and scholarship. He recently co-curated Benjamin Wigfall and Communications Village, the first posthumous survey of the Black American artist Benjamin Wigfall, which opened in September 2022 at the Dorsky Museum before traveling to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He is also at work on an exhibition about African metalwork that will open at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery in fall 2023. He authored Filtering Histories: The Photographic Bureaucracy in Mozambique, 1960 to Recent Times (University of Michigan Press, 2021) and numerous publications about the history of photography and contemporary art in southern Africa.

American Artist, bio forthcoming.

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