Marfa Dialogues

Artists’ Film International 2017 – Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman

November 18-19, 2017


Artists’ Film International 2017 – Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman

Saturday, November 18
12:30 doors, 1 pm – 6:30 pm Drop-in screenings of AFI international selections
New cycles begin at: 1pm, 3:45pm

7 pm doors, 7:30 pm Featured screening of Serpent Rain, conversation with Ferreira da Silva and Neuman to follow
Crowley Theater
Marfa, Texas

Sunday, November 19
1pm The Water Body Symposium
The Lumberyard
Marfa, Texas


Ballroom Marfa presents Serpent Rain, a collaboration between Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman. This video is Ballroom’s selection for Artists’ Film International 2017. AFI is an international collaboration organized by Whitechapel Gallery, London, that showcases emerging artists working in video and animation. For Ballroom’s AFI 2017 presentation, Serpent Rain will inspire a weekend of critical inquiry and public discussion of racial and environmental justice, water, and human migration.

Serpent Rain is as much an experiment in working together as it is a film about the future. The collaboration began with the discovery of a sunken slave ship, and an artist asking a philosopher – how do we get to the post-human without technology? And the philosopher replying – maybe we can make a film without time. The result is a video that speaks from inside the cut between slavery and resource extraction, between black lives matter and the matter of life, between the state changes of elements, timelessness and tarot.

As Tim Adams writes in The Guardian, the film “might get under your skin – you may find yourself hearing the drip, drip of doom in the melting ice, or feel yourself ‘full fathom five’ among the weeds of the ocean.”

On Saturday, November 18 Serpent Rain will screen at Marfa’s Crowley Theater along with 12 videos from around the world. The international program will be be looped into a day of drop-in screenings from 1-6pm. This will be followed by the feature presentation of Serpent Rain at 7pm, with a conversation with Ferreira da Silva and Neuman to follow. Afternoon refreshments will include free popcorn along with beer from Big Bend Brewing Co.

The films in the AFI 2017 program were selected by Fundación PRÓA, Argentina; GAMeC, Italy; Hammer Museum, United States; Hanoi DOCLAB, Vietnam; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; KCB, Belgrade; MAAT, Portugal; Para/Site, Hong Kong; Project 88, India; Videoforum Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany; and Whitechapel Gallery, London.

The AFI 2017 weekend continues on Sunday, November 19 at 1pm with The Water Body, a symposium organized by Ferreira da Silva and Neuman as an expansion of Serpent Rain and a connector to their next project, Deep Implicancy. The Water Body brings together different perspectives, disciplines, and backgrounds to engage in a conversation about water, locally and globally. This discussion between activists, philosophers, artists, and residents of the Big Bend starts with the realization that water is the main element in our existence. Participants include Timothy Morton, author of Hyperobjects and co-curator of the Spring 2018 Ballroom exhibition of the same name; Rafa Esparza, the artist behind Ballroom’s current Tierra. Sangre. Oro. exhibition; Yolanda Blue Horse, co-founder of the Society of Native Nations; ecological systems designer, consultant, teacher, and permacultural grower Nance Klehm; and Coyne Gibson of the Big Bend Conservation Alliance. The symposium will take place in Marfa at The Lumberyard’s Adobe Room, and will feature light snacks.

Serpent Rain was commissioned by Stefano Harney (freethought) for The Bergen Assembly. The AFI 2017 program at Ballroom Marfa is organized by Ballroom Marfa Executive Director & Curator Laura Copelin.

Denise Ferreira da Silva’s academic writings and artistic practice address the ethical questions of the global present and target the metaphysical and ontoepistemological dimensions of modern thought. Currently, she is an Associate Professor and Director of The Social Justice Institute (GRSJ) at the University of British Columbia. She is he author of Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007).

Her recent academic publications include the edited volume Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), and the articles “Toward a Black Feminist Poethics: The Quest(ion) of Blackness Towards the End of the World” (The Black Scholar, 2014), “The Racial Limits of Social Justice: The Ruse of Equality of Opportunity and the Global Affirmative Action Mandate” (Critical Ethnic Studies, 2016). Her art-related work include texts for publications linked to the 2016 Liverpool and Sao Paulo Biennales, advising Natasha Ginwala, the curator for the Contour 8 Biennale (Mechelen, 2017), as well as events (performances, talks, and private sessions), the play Return of the Vanished Peasant (in collaboration with Rosalind Martin, commissioned by “What’s Up Doc?,” a program of the Menagerie Theatre Company), and texts that are part of her own practice, Poethical Readings (in collaboration with Valentina Desideri).

Arjuna Neuman was born on an airplane, that’s why he has two passports. He is an artist, filmmaker and writer. With recent presentations at Sharja Biennial, UAE; Contour 8, Belgium; Bergen Assembly, Norway; at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; the 56th Venice Biennale and SuperCommunity; Industry of Light, London; the Haus Der Kulturen der Welt; at Ashkal Alwan and the Beirut Art Centre, Lebanon; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; the Canadian Centre for Architecture; and the Rat School of Art, Seoul amongst others. As a writer he has published essays in Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, VIA Magazine, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP and e-flux.

    This program is made possible by the generous support of Brown Foundation, Inc.; City of Marfa; National Endowment for the Arts; Texas Commission on the Arts; Ballroom Marfa Board of Trustees; and Ballroom Marfa Members.

    This is Presence Funders 20160802

    In-kind support provided by Big Bend Brewing Co., Fairfax Dorn & Marc Glimcher, Jennie Lyn Hamilton & Cory van Dyke, Hotel Saint George, and SAVED Wines.

    Special thanks to Lalo Baeza, Balmorhea State Park, Yvonne Beltran, Yolanda Blue Horse, Emily Butler, Camp Toyahvale, Joe Cashiola, The Crowley Theater, Rob Crowley, Tim Crowley, Rowdy Dugan, Rafa Esparza, David Fenster, Cuca Flores, Trey Gerfers, Nance Klehm, Timothy Morton, Xoxi Nayapiltzin, Salsa Puedes, Society of Native Nations, Candy Stobbs, Texas Water Protectors, Emily Williams, and to our friends at the Big Bend Sentinel, the Chinati Foundation, Judd Foundation, and Marfa Public Radio.

    Artists’ Film International 2017 – Denise Ferreira da Silva and Arjuna Neuman


    Ballroom Marfa se enorgullece en presentar Serpent Rain, una colaboración de Denise Ferreira Da Silva and Arjuan Neuman, comisionada por Srefano Harney (freetought) para el Begen Assembly. Este film es la selección de la curadora de Ballroom Laura Copelin para el Artist Film International 2017 (AFI por sus siglas en Ingles.) AFI es una colaboración internacional organizada por la galería Whitechapel en Londres, la cual presenta artistas emergentes en video y animación.

    Serpent Rain es tanto un experimento de trabajo en equipo así como un film acerca del futuro. Esta colaboración empezó con el descubrimiento de un navío de esclavos hundido, y la artista preguntando a un filosofo — ¿Como llegamos al post-humanismo sin tecnología? Y el filosofo respondiendo — quizá podríamos hacer un film sin tiempo.

    El resultado es un video el cual habla desde el corte interior entre esclavitud y extracción de recursos, entre el movimiento black lives matter (vidas Negras importan) y la importancia de la vida, entre los cambios del cambio del estado de los elementos, intemporalidad y tarot.

    Juntos nos cuestionamos: ¿Que es de la humanidad si es expresada por los elementos?

    Serpent Rain será proyectada en todas las instituciones participantes del AFI 2017. Ballroom a sus vez proyectara film y video de los artistas seleccionados por estas instituciones como para de un fin de semana de proyecciones publicas y charlas por artistas.

    Los escritos académicos y la practica artística de Denise Ferreira da Silva aborda cuestionamientos éticos del presente global y tiene como objetivo lo metafísico y dimensiones epistemológicas del pensamiento moderno. Actualmente da Silva es profesora adjunta y directora de el Instituto de justicia social (GRSJ) en la Universidad de British Columbia. Es la autora de Toward a Global Idea of Race Hacia la idea global de raza (University of Minnesota Press, 2007).

    Sus publicaciones académicas recientes incluyen el volumen editado de Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime Raza, Imperio y la crisis de la Suprima (con Paula Chakrayratty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) y los artículos “Hacia el feminismo negro poéticas: La Cuestión de lo negro hacia el fin del mundo “ (The Black Scholar, 2014), “Los limites sociales de la justicia: La rusa por la igualdad de oportunidades y el mandato global de la acción afirmativa “(Critical Ethinic Studies, 2016), Su trabajo en relación al arte incluye textos por publicaciones ligadas a los biennales de Sao Paulo y Liverpool en 2016, como consultora de Natasha Ginwala, la curadora del Bienal Cotour 8 (Mechelen, 2017), así como para sus eventos (performance, charlas y sesiones privadas), El juego de Return of the Vanished Peasans (en colaboración con Rosalind Martin comisionado por “Whats Up Doc? Un programa del Menagerie Theater Company) y textos los cuales son parte de su propia practica, Poethical Readings ( en colaboración con Valentina Desideri).

    Arjuan Neuman nacido en un avión, por lo cual tiene dos pasaportes. Neuman, es un artista, videografo y escritor. Con recientes presentaciones en Sharja Biennial, Emirator Arabes; Contour 8, Belgica; Bergen Assembly, Noruega; en NTU Centre for Contemporary Art; Singapur; el 56vo Bienal de Venecia y SuperCommunity; Industry of Light, Londres; el Haus Der Kulturen der Welt; en Ashkal Alwan y el Beirut Art Centre, Lebano; Le Gaite Lyric, Paris; el Canadien Centre for Architecture; y e Rat School of Art, Seul entre otros. Como escritor ha publicado ensayos en Relief Press, Into the Pines Press, The Journal for New Writing, Revista VIA, Concord, Art Voices, Flaunt, LEAP y e-flux.