Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Everyday Carbonist or Afroturist moments

I and other folks are starting to notice manifestations of Carbonism and/or Afrofuturist permutations out there in the ether. Although I'm loathe to start down a path wherein I exhaust all permutations of futurist, technological, African diasporic interleavings by insisting on their categorization as either Carbonist or Afrofuturist, sometimes if something strikes me or somebody else I'm gonna put it here so I don't forget it.

2006 New York Black Gay Pride Event Flyer: "Men Are from Mars"

Graduate Student Daniel Atkinson Attempts to Auction His Blackness on eBay

From artist Cauleen Smith, the story of a University of Washington graduate student, Daniel Atkinson, who attempted to sell his blackness on eBay. As Smith notes, here's a Carbonist scholar who doesn't even know he's one. He also doesn't seem to know about Mendi + Keith Obadike's internet conceptual art piece from 2001, blackness for sale, which entailed the auctioning of Keith Obadike's blackness on eBay with a list of cultural rights and points of access the purchase would and would not afford the buyer. The auction ran for four days at which point eBay stopped it, citing the "inappropriateness" of the sale.

In Atkinson's case it Ebay pulled his auction "citing its usage terms that state 'sellers may not list items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, or racial intolerance.'" But as Atkinson says he meant his auction to get people thinking about racism, and notes there's already racism on eBay: "You can buy memorabilia items like 'Ten little niggers,' he says looking at the web site 'Nigger loves his possum.'"

If Atkinson continues to look for a buyer he says, "They would get a copy of my master's thesis which says the more things change, the more they stay the same."


At 2:36 PM, Blogger That Borther said...

To be honest, I resent labels. Actually, I did know about the other work, because I do a LOT of research on the commodification of Black identity. Unlike some folks, I wasn't making an artistic statement nor did I think I owned the concept. Rather, I was trying to bring attention to the fact that people can still profit from the institution of slavery and minstrelsy while remaining anonymous. That's all. So rather than addressing me like an intellectual thief, maybe she could addressed me like a brother, or at the very least, a comrade. The way I was engaged was like a flea telling another flea that she owned the dog we were both living on rather than working with me to make sure the dog is scratching. If the previous piece was worth it's salt, then maybe ebay would have taken notice and done something about it and I wouldn't have to go and try it again.


Daniel Atkinson

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