On Hearing a White Man Co-opt the Body of Michael Brown
The image, the death, is ubiquitous. Lyricizing a racialization of Brown’s corpse is horrific. Why would one do that in this space? Wait, that question isn’t interesting. Goldsmith’s piece isn’t provocative, it is explicitly invasive.
How dare you make poetry porn out of a medicalized, dehumanized body? How dare you? How dare you present it in this space filled with privileged people playing at radical politics at the site of formal interventions in poems and lines of code? How dare people sit in the audience and talk about how important it was that they sat there and listened to it? How dare someone enact a microagression against me when I entered the conference?
We’re sure that we don’t need to explain how the notion of a black artist being “willed into existence” and the use of a black FEMALE body through which a WHITE male “artist” conceptually masturbates in the context of an art exhibition presents a troubling model of the BLACK body and of conceptual RAPE. The possibility of this figure somehow producing increased “representation” for black artists both furthers the reduction of black personhood and insults the very notion of representation as a political or collective engagement.