Building and Bildung und Blackness: Some Architectural Questions for Fela

Building and Bildung und Blackness: Some Architectural Questions for Fela

NOMAS Lecture

These questions for Fela are dedicated to him, or to his memory. They seek to be in or to be infused by his spirit. They are questions for him that he teaches us to ask, and to ask him, not in search of answers but of the questions’ continual deepening; not as action’s deferral but as practice’s exacerbation. We’ll consider: Bildung and building as indicating a problematic of development; the relation between development and picturing; blackness as arrest and eclipse. The near homophone bears quasi-homonymic weight – not that it links things by an all but common name but that it blurs the blurs those things, conjunction intensified unto its disappearance by way of slur or consonant slide invoking E.T. Mensah’s croon and Louis Armstrong’s scat and Clark Terry’s mumbles and Victor Olaiya’s evil genius – the prophetic trumpeter’s multiply-tongued, transatlantic imperative as the breath of revolutionary market women. This movement from chain to inseparability is part of what’s at stake and we’ll think about it by way of walking as Bildung and building and their plotlessly generative undoing.

Frederick Moten

Professor of Performance Studies and Comparative Literature, New York University

Fred Moten works in the Departments of Performance Studies and Comparative Literature at New York University. His latest book, written with Stefano Harney, is All Incomplete (Minor Compositions/Autonomedia, 2021).