Tate Modern Film

Cauleen Smith: Black Utopia LP

Full Disk View of M9.3-class Solar Flare on 12 March 2014. Courtesy NASA

Journey through this audio-visual exploration of history, music, outer space and African divination

Join us for the European premiere of Cauleen Smith's captivating audio-visual performance. Combining 35mm slide projection with the artist's vinyl LP, this 90-minute 'film without film' offers a unique cinematic experience. Emerging from Smith's extensive research on Afrofuturism, this live work ruminates on history, music, outer space and African divination using the tactics of musician Sun Ra.

Each time the work is performed, Smith creates a new set of slides pertaining to the local history of Afrofuturism and the current political moment. This site-specific set of images is incorporated into the growing pool of slides she projects, which includes images objects found in archives or appropriated from occult, astrological and historical sources. The slides are activated to the sound of the Smith's double LP Black Utopia, a collage of lectures, rehearsals and live performances by Sun Ra as well as commissioned contributions from Chicago artists Krista Franklin and Avery R. Young.

'(Smith's) constellational approach to filmmaking parallels Sun Ra's freestyle compositions and spiritual belief in the astral world, while reawakening the political possibilities of black experimental culture.' – Art in America

About Cauleen Smith

Cauleen Smith (b. 1967, United States) is a filmmaker and multimedia artist currently based in Los Angeles. She roots her practice firmly within the discourse of mid-twentieth-century experimental film, deploying tactics from structuralism, third cinema and science fiction. Smith first garnered recognition with her feature-length film Drylongso 1998, which she completed during her graduate studies at UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television. In recent years, she participated in the 2017 Whitney Biennial in New York and mounted solo exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago (2017) and The McKinney Ave Contemporary as part of the Dallas Biennial (2014). Smith is currently professor at California Institute of the Arts​.

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012, slide. Courtesy the artist

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012, slide. Courtesy the artist

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012–3, performance at REDCAT 2013, detail. Courtesy Ann Kaneko

Cauleen Smith, Black Utopia LP, 2012–3, performance at REDCAT 2013, detail. Courtesy Ann Kaneko

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012–3, performance at REDCAT 2013, detail. Courtesy Krista Franklin

Cauleen Smith, Black Utopia LP, 2012–3, performance at REDCAT 2013, detail. Courtesy Krista Franklin

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012, slide. Courtesy the artist

Cauleen Smith Black Utopia LP 2012, slide. Courtesy the artist

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

Bankside
London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

9 May 2018 at 18.30–20.30