Rhubaba · Podcast Episode #5 heARTbreak </3 a conversation with Camara Taylor

Rhubaba Podcast Episode #5

heARTbreak </3 a conversation with Camara Taylor

Episode 5 features Camara Taylor in conversation with committee members Khadea Kuchenmeister, Natasha Ruwona and Laura Tully. Camara discusses their research around the feelings of pining, nostalgia and heartbreak in new commissions that they have been currently working on that interrogate the violent and ongoing consequences of the histories of colonisation.* We discuss how post-colonial nostalgia plays out in various internet comment sections and the impacts of being exposed to false narratives online daily that demonstrate a historical erasure of Britain’s colonial past. Camara also discusses the multiple aspects of their practice: their feelings about curation, juggling various projects, art work burnout and anti-work politics.

The episode opens with a quote read by Camara from the essay 808s & Heartbreak by Katherine McKittrick & Alexander G. Weheliye:

Heartbreak captures, at least a little, those injuriously loving emulations of what it means to be Black and human within the context of white supremacy. Heartbreak works with and in excess of the bio-mythological heart, the hollow muscular organ and its narratives of affectively variegated tenderness and loss. Heartbreak represents the reverberating echoes of our collective plantocratic historical pasts in the present. Heartbreak elucidates how the violence of racial capitalism inaccurately reproduces black life. Heartbreak bursts apart. Heartbreak is feeling outside of oneself. Heartbreak is the demand to feel outside of ones’ individuated self. Heart/////break cannot be recuperated. Heartbreak fails the heartbroken. Heartbreak waits. It sounds. It envelops us like the thumping bass of the TR-808.

What do we learn from and about each other in these moments of heartbreak and love? What do we pass on, what do we keep to ourselves, in order to practice black livingness in a world that refuses black life? How do we tell each other this feeling might be or is forever? Do we tell each other heartbreak might be forever? Is pain forever?

Katherine McKittrick & Alexander G. Weheliye, 808s & Heartbreak, Propter Nos 2:1, Fall 2017, pp.13-42.

A transcript of the podcast is available here. With thanks to Collective Text for transcript.

More Information:

Camara Taylor is an artist, writer and researcher. Their current projects focus on the excesses of dominant discourse, and lower frequencies of objection in the context of Black lives. Camara lives and works in Glasgow.

Image: film still, Pining [work in progress], Camara Taylor, 2020.

*These themes are examined in their work particularly in relation to the Windrush generation who were given a right to enter and remain in the 1948 British Nationality Act, however the intention of the act was to solely benefit the movement and emigration of white Britons and an attempt to linger on to what remained of it’s Empire. The 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act was later put in place to put violent controls on the flow of non-white immigrants into society, such as denying people access to the welfare state even though the British government were still taking taxes from the former colonies and Commonwealth countries (that were in fact contributing to the welfare state). More recently reformed Immigration Laws have been put in place with intent to intensify hostile environments for immigrants, the fall out of this included the Windrush scandal and Brexit campaigns amplifying and legitimising racial hatred in the UK. For further reading see: Nadine El-Enany, Bordering Britain, 2019.