This talk approaches two concepts — the double bind of reproduction and black mediality, which get to the heart of a number of theoretical questions concerning the entanglements of raciality, mediation, and immediation, and the violence of touch. Beginning from the double bind of reproduction, the talk interrogates the singular ways in which black feminine labours are conscripted in the reproduction of both the antiblack world and its fugitive ulteriors. Only by grappling with this coerced reproductivity and its relationship to ontology, phenomenology, and (aesthetic) form one can begin to understand the depth of the violence and scope of the implications of what Bradley theorizes as black mediality. Black mediality has massive implications for both the grammar of technics that predominates in the philosophy of media, as well as the conception of mediality this grammar inscribes. Missing from the media theories that have attempted to parse the distinctions between key terms such as medium, mediation, immediation, and mediality is a critical engagement with the implications of the (im)mediations to which blackness is bound for the grammar of technics and its human subject. Moving by way of artistic example, the talk underscores and draws out the significance of a particular constellation of black feminist insights on race, gender, and reproduction for a theory of black mediality in order to show how both mediatic forms and the perceived technological exteriorizations of the modern human subject are bound to the scene of racially gendered violation.

Rizvana Bradley, Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and Affiliated Faculty in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley, has been named the 2023-24 Terra Foundation Visiting Professorship for American Art at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She holds a BA from Williams College and a PhD from Duke University. Bradley’s book, Anteaesthetics: Black Aesthesis and the Critique of Form, was published in 2023 by Stanford University Press. Her scholarly work has been published in Diacritics: A Review of Contemporary Criticism, Film Quarterly, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, TDR: The Drama Review, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, and Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Her art criticism has also been published in The Yale Review, Artforum, e-flux, Art in America, and Parkett.

In English
Organized by

ICI Berlin


Rizvana Bradley

Moderated by Marietta Kesting

The recording of Rizvana Bradley’s talk is available in the ICI Library archive only.

Glenn Ligon: The Death of Tom

Image credit © The Death of Tom, 2008
16 mm black and white film/video transfer
23 minutes

Edition of 3 and 1 AP
Installation view: Off Book, Regen Projects, CA, 12 December 2009 – 23 January 2010
© Glenn Ligon; Courtesy of the artist, Hauser & Wirth, New York, Regen Projects, Los Angeles, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris