On April 26, 2019, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) will launch Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts, the second chapter in the experimental three-part exhibition series Colored People Time that re-envisions the traditional exhibition format to build new narratives and public discourse around the everyday experiences of black Americans.
Quotidian Pasts reconsiders the trafficking of blackness through the colonial practices of collecting, commodifying, and exhibiting people and objects from the African continent. This exhibition, produced in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, turns its lens toward early-20th-century anthropological displays. The long history of the exploitation of both African people and their cultures is told through the configuration of a few small objects—a photograph, a journal entry, a letter. Featuring a newly commissioned work by the artist Matthew Angelo Harrison, Quotidian Pasts questions: What confers authenticity? How does an object change when dislocated from its time and place within the context of the museum? It is through these works that we are invited to reconsider the singularity of Western time and bear witness to the everyday disruptions that restructure and reorganize black being in the past, present, and future.
Broken into three distinct chapters opening over the course of 2019—Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents—the yearlong exhibition offers a profound exploration into how the history of chattel slavery and colonialism in America not only shaped the foundations of our country but exists in our present moment and impacts our future. The title of the exhibition draws from the black vernacular phrase “Colored People’s Time” which has functioned as a linguistic tool for people of color to control their own temporality even when placed within the construct of Western time. Conceived by Meg Onli, assistant curator at ICA, the format of Colored People Time will root itself within this malleable and fluid concept of time, enabling a new and responsive curatorial approach that will build on new ideas and discoveries from previous chapters, challenging the conventional exhibition structure.
Read full article on e-flux.
More info on the ICA‘s website.