This week Toni Morrison became an ancestor, and that is difficult to process. There is of course much to say, and many people will be saying many things. I will be one of them. But for now I just need to read, think, and touch.
So, with that in mind, I’m sharing “assembly,” a page from .break .dance, which is an interactive digital project published in a recent issue of Small Axe Archipelagos. This born-digital permutation of Small Axe was guest-edited by Jessica Johnson and produced by Alex Gil and Kaiama Glover.
This is a page that you might arrive at towards the end of .break .dance, depending on the combinations of breaking and dancing paths you choose to follow. It offers a meditative approach to thinking alongside Baby Suggs’ sermon in the Clearing, as it is represented both in Morrison’s novel Beloved, and also in Jonathan Demme’s cinematic version of the same. The gaps are here for a reason, and the purpose of the experience is not to make a flowing essay, but to feel what emerges out of the gaps, and also what must, inevitably, fall into them. Read, think, touch, play, think.
Which is to say that this is the dance in the break, the dance after the break, the dance in lieu of, in the site of, the break. The counterclockwise motions of grounded flesh set against the sharp edges of Sethe’s attempted final flight. This is the power represented in a tendwa cosmogram materialized through dancing, laughing, and weeping bodies. The ring shout. At the end of this experience, you might also find some words from Édouard Glissant, to bring you safely home.
glissant and morrison networked
This experience also includes a text box that will change continuously over the next few days. The outpouring of thought and feeling has been wonderful and sustaining to behold, and I want to pull some of that into this space. You can also add your own words: I would love to see what you make. Maybe share your screenshots with me in the comments, or with @amplify285 on insta or twitter? The hashtag on each is #breakdanceglitch.
Click here to visit the temporary site for: “an assembly / a dance / an orchestration of voices / a spaceship.” It’s not super friendly to mobile screens, and having audio helps a lot. It’s also, of course, being offered here out of context. But it gives me something that I need right now, the feeling of Baby Suggs’ power, with some scaffolding from Kwame Dawes, Fred Moten, Katherine McKittrick, and Dalton Anthony Jones to move us across the gaps…