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Boom! The politics of black sound

What is it about nightlife that offers such a refuge for queer people of colour?

Boom-imageBoom! The politics of black sound was the first stage of a broader research project on club culture and queer nightlife in the UK. 

The project team are interested in why nightlife offers marginalized people a place of refuge. By researching the vibrant history of sound system culture in London in the 80s and 90s, a movement that was spearheaded by Caribbean migrants and that framed the politics of black sound, they will show how music, dancing, bass and politics work together.

This project is transdisciplinary in scope and draws on the fields of black queer studies, sound studies, popular music studies, media studies and sound engineering as well as performance studies to produce an analysis of past and present black queer nightlife and sound system culture.

Music is meant to be felt. It is a quality that happens to the body, not one that is simply heard with the ears. To that end the project has created an archive and a series of creative and scholarly activity around the nightclub and the sound system, showing the importance of the experience of listening to and of feeling music. What is the relationship between listening and queerness, and between listening and community? 

Boom! The politics of black sound contributed to Evan Ifekoya’s ongoing project A Score, A Groove, A Phantom, which explores archives of blackness, sociality and inheritance as they diffract through queer nightlife and trauma in the present moment. It also contributes to and builds on dr madison moore’s research on queer nightlife and club culture as politicized spaces of creativity, expression and innovation. 

Project events

Club culture + politics of bass working group, Friday 24 November 2017, Anatomy Museum, King's College London

Boom! A rave in Blackness, Saturday 25 November 2017, The Deadhouse, Somerset House

Boom! A rave in blackness took place in The Deadhouse, a space underneath the Somerset House courtyard, with music stretching from techno and r’n’b to house and experimental. Evan Ifekoya curated a selection of sound works that explore the relationship between listening and queerness and listening and community, with contributions from black artists from across the gender spectrum. The night featured DJs Josh Caffe, Venus Ex Machina, Shy One, Marcia Carr, and madison moore.

Project film


Project team                                                                               

Evan Ifekoya’s current work investigates the possibility of an erotic and poetic occupation using film, performative writing and sound, focused on co-authored intimate forms of knowledge production and the radical potential of spectacle. Their ongoing project A Score, A Groove, A Phantom explores archives of blackness, sociality and inheritance as they diffract through queer nightlife and trauma in the present moment. Most recently, the relationship between a Buddhist practice, speculative fiction and the echo as affective encounter propels their thinking.

Ifekoya’s recent work has been presented at: Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire; New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2017); Transmission Gallery, Glasgow; Serpentine Galleries, London; and Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town (2016). Recent performances have taken place at ICA, London and KW institute, Berlin (2017) and Jerwood Space, London and Whitstable Biennial (2016). Ifekoya is an Art Foundation Fellow in Live Art for 2017. 

For more info, visit Evan's website here or follow them on Instagram @evan_ife

Madison Moore is a cultural critic and DJ based in London. His work touches pop culture, queer studies, nightlife, sound, media, visual culture and contemporary art, and blurs the lines between pop culture, theory and art. madison holds a PhD in American Studies from Yale University and is currently an ERC funded researcher in 'Modern Moves' in the department of English at King's College London. In April 2017 his first book Fabulous: The Rise of the Beautiful Eccentric will be published byYale University Press. 

For more info, visit madison's website here or follow him on Instagram @madisonmooreonline

Boom! The politics of black sound is a collaboration between King's College London's Department of English and artist Evan Ifekoya, brokered and supported by the university's Culture team in partnership with Somerset House Studios.

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