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Reading Group with Aidan Riebensahm: Seven Songs in Madtime: Black Music, Madness and Metaphysical Syncopation
November 9, 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm CET
La Marr Jurelle Bruce: How To Go Mad Without Losing Your Mind
“Hold tight. The way to go mad without losing your mind is sometimes unruly.” So begins La Marr Jurelle Bruce’s urgent provocation and poignant meditation on madness in black radical art. Bruce theorizes four overlapping meanings of madness: the lived experience of an unruly mind, the psychiatric category of serious mental illness, the emotional state also known as “rage,” and any drastic deviation from psychosocial norms. With care and verve, he explores the mad in the literature of Amiri Baraka, Gayl Jones, and Ntozake Shange; in the jazz repertoires of Buddy Bolden, Sun Ra, and Charles Mingus; in the comedic performances of Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle; in the protest music of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, and Kendrick Lamar, and beyond. These artists activate madness as content, form, aesthetic, strategy, philosophy, and energy in an enduring black radical tradition. Joining this tradition, Bruce mobilizes a set of interpretive practices, affective dispositions, political principles, and existential orientations that he calls “mad methodology.” Ultimately, How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind is both a study and an act of critical, ethical, radical madness. In this (mostly) bi-weekly reading group we will critically engage with and study La Marr Jurelle Bruce’ How to Go Mad without losing your mind. Participants are welcome to bring their own practice into conversations on Madness and Black Radical Creativity. The sessions will be held by Aidan Riebensahm.
Aidan Riebensahm works as a trans disciplinary artist, an independent scholar and moderator. Their practice ties together performative, literary and padagogical approaches to voice a Black, queer and neurodiverse counter narration as told by their corporal archive. They studied at the Department of Cultural Studies and Aesthetic Communication at the University of Hildesheim, earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree with a focus on theater.
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It is a non-profit organization that centers the mental health, well-being, experiences, knowledge, histories, narratives and archives of Black people, Indigenous people and People of Color, as well as other migrant and marginalized groups.