Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet!
Steffani Jemison and Jamal Cyrus
“Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet” is an exhibition, reading room, and discussion space inspired by the energy and politics of radical, independent Black periodicals published during the first half of the twentieth century. Born out of “Book Club” (2010), a think tank and reading group organized by artists Steffani Jemison and Jamal Cyrus for Project Row Houses, Houston, “Alpha’s Bet” investigates approaches to language, the written word, self-education, and democratic distributions of knowledge. The project draws upon two hundred years of dialogues that span the spiritual, pedagogic, visionary, and populist. These perspectives are reflected in the exhibition’s title that paraphrases theorist and artist Rammellzee (1960-2010), who argued that language as a social agreement is not a passive vessel or known quantity but rather possesses the potential to reimagine structures of power.
The centerpiece of the project is an interactive newsstand display featuring complete reproductions of more than 500 issues of Black periodicals published between 1902 and 1940, including The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races; The Messenger: World’s Greatest Negro Monthly; Opportunity: A Journal of Negro Life; and The Crusader. The installation is designed to encourage browsing of the materials and provides space for both concentrated reading and conversation.
Founded in 2009, the Bidoun Library is a presentation of printed matter, carefully selected with zero regard for taste or excellence, that documents the innumerable ways that people have depicted and defined — that is, slandered, celebrated, obfuscated, hyperbolized, ventriloquized, photographed, surveyed, and/or exhumed — the vast, vexed, nefarious construct known as “the Middle East.”
Bidoun, Issue 22 — Library
“This issue presents a specific iteration of the Bidoun Library (…): a presentation of printed matter, carefully selected with no regard for taste or quality, in an attempt to document every possible way that people have depicted and defined — slandered, celebrated, obfuscated, hyperbolized, ventriloquized, photographed, surveyed, and/or exhumed — that vast, vexed, nefarious construct known as “the Middle East.” The result is banal and offensive, a parade of stereotypes, caricatures, and misunderstandings of a sort that rarely makes it into the magazine, all the trappings of the Middle East as fetish: veils, oil, fashion victims; sexy sheikhs, sex with sheikhs, Sufis, stonings; calligraphy, the caliphate, terrorism; Palestinians.”
It Was a Publisher’s Idea, Bidoun
Bidoun, Issue 15 — Pulp
“Lies, crimes, and stereotypes…pulp is the kingdom of the obvious and exaggerated, the sensational and the predictable, peopled by detectives, werewolves, and robot girls. In pulp loves comes in two flavors; saccharine sweet and raunchy porn. Pulp is worth exactly the paper it’s printed on—the cheapest paper in the world.
Pulp means paper; or rather, the mulch from which paper is made. And it is this relationship to the physical that is the key to pulp, as genre and as critique. Pulp can be a painting, but not art. A book, but not literature. A movie…but not cinema.”
Letter From The Editor, Lisa Farjam
Bicoli collective à Forest (Bxl)
Clara Pacotte — Bibli de zouz
& la bibliothèque EAAPES:
Bibliothèque d'Elsa Abderhamani (juillet 2021 →) et aussi ici (octobre 2020 - mai 2021):