THE BLACK CRITIQUE (TOWARDS THE WILD BEYOND)
The white screen is normative, dispensing with all possibilities that do not begin with white. Fannie Sosa and Tabita Rezaire describe it thus: “[virtual publishing platforms] are white institutions, because they utilise literal whiteness as the starting point of creation. Why do you think the background is always white?...There are countless interfaces we daily interact with, where white is presented as a blank canvas…This visual association between whiteness and "infinite potential" is ideological, because it makes us think of white as default, as the quantum field, the ‘everything-nothing’, as the place of creation. The artist of color knows the quantum field is Black and femme.”
The installation consists of a large metal locker that is shallow and sits open similarly to a casket. The locker has UV lights installed inside that are used to sterilize equipment by emanating specific bands of UV light. Inside of the locker are several phones on a rack being cleansed with light.
Early computer interfaces used a black ground upon which white or green characters of code were input. Some time in the 70s with the development of the graphical user interface (GUI) the negative space of the screen began to appear white. Whiteness now serves as the blank space upon which virtual creative capacity rests. If we take the white screen as harmonious and autonomous, what does the normalization of a cacophonous outside—the black screen, the wild beyond—look like? As the viewer looks upon the case, the phones type quotes into a command line which rejects them.
In the intro to The Undercommons, Jack Halberstam writes, “The disordered sounds that we refer to as cacophony will always be cast as ‘extra-musical,’ as Moten puts it, precisely because we hear something in them that reminds us that our desire for harmony is arbitrary and in another world, harmony would sound incomprehensible. Listening to cacophony and noise tells us that there is a wild beyond to the structures we inhabit and that inhabit us.”