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‘We can’t breathe’ – race/mourning/digital media/utopia - an audiovisual essay

Published onMar 17, 2022
‘We can’t breathe’ – race/mourning/digital media/utopia - an audiovisual essay

The tragic (media) events such as the Grenfell tower fire and the killing of African-Americans by the police are symptoms of the failings of the state, neoliberal violence, and the contemporary crisis of racial (network) capitalism. Alternative digital media and communication networks are engendering forms of social organising, everyday multiculture, and collective mourning and remembrance of the dead - from real-time, viral videos of live coverage of protests, mobile phone street photographs, to online music videos of remembrance. To what extent are these mutating archives of digital fragments creating autonomous black/brown sociality and historical memory countering the amnesia of the racial state and corporate media?

These poetic, speculative, notes as audiovisual essay and event consider how these digital ‘(infra)structures of feeling’ invent forms of ‘concrete utopias’, radically reimagining the temporality and spatiality of urban life and social resistance. Can digital everyday life offer forms of utopian ‘techno-poesis’ in times of tragedy and pessimism?

After Grenfell, for a brief time what was always already present became visible, when the state and capital failed to address the immediate distress - the various communities - Muslim, Black, Christian, European, African,  British, worked together to help, grieve, and support each other. This a largely invisible, unimaginable ordinary, everyday culture of friendship, a sociality that is at once abstract and material.

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