Arthur Jafa, Dreams are Colder than Death (still), 2014. Single-channel video (color, sound; 52:57 minutes). Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome. © Arthur Jafa
Arthur Jafa’s critically acclaimed experimental documentary Dreams are Colder than Death (2014) lyrically reflects on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and contemporary black experiences in the United States. The film layers and weaves together a range of imagery with narrations from artistic and intellectual visionaries such as filmmaker Charles Burnett; poet, critic, and theorist Fred Moten; artists Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker; and scholars Saidiya Hartman and Hortense Spillers. Initially made to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Dreams asks what it means to be black in this country today. As Jafa stated about this work, “It was always about creating a platform for black folks—as I say, uncommon black folks—and for specialists to voice their feelings about where they were but ostensibly where we are, collectively.”
This film viewing is in conjunction with Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, The Message is Death on view at the ICA through September 30, 2018.