In conjunction with Carl Craig’s Party/After-Party (2020) at Dia Beacon, Dia presents a cumulative platform of public programs exploring the legacy of techno through summer 2021. The Carl Craig Sessions join an ongoing and multivocal dialogue about techno’s emergence in Detroit’s underground as well as its reverberations worldwide.
Originating in post-Fordist Detroit in the early 1980s, techno arose not only as an electronic music form, but also as an aesthetic and political movement committed to experimentation, counter-histories, and imagined futures. As artist and sound theorist Kodwo Eshun stated in 1995: “Detroit techno took music beyond the dance, into the chaos of electronics; inventing a history and a future, a direction and an ideal as successful as that other 1980s neologism, cyberspace.”
Inviting artists, DJs, musicians, writers, and thinkers, the Carl Craig Sessions consider the sonic influence of techno. Devoting primary attention to archives of Black experience, the sessions also consider how techno challenges the racial capitalist relationship between human and machine to articulate visions of a transformative society.
Carl Craig Sessions: Screening Series in Collaboration with Electronic Arts Intermix
This film series constellates some of the forms, mythologies, and politics present in the greater movement of techno.
June 25–28, 2020
Thursday, June 25, 5 pm
Launch event with a live conversation between Carl Craig, sound theorist DeForrest Brown, Jr., and Dia curator Kelly Kivland
Register for the conversation here.
Tony Cokes, Black Celebration, 1988
Co-presentation with the Hammer Museum
Otolith Group, Hydra Decapita, 2010
Techno City: What is Detroit Techno?, 2000
July 16–19, 2020
Featuring films by Ulysses Jenkins and Cauleen Smith, the second screening in the Carl Craig Sessions film program offers enigmatic visions of current and future metropolises and the slippages between them. Spatiotemporal loopholes weave fantasy into images of the already postapocalyptic—from the industrial landscape to the extraterrestrial—redefining our relationship to the conditions of the present.
Ulysses Jenkins, Dream City, 1983
Cauleen Smith, The Changing Same, 2001
Cauleen Smith, THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY TWO, 2012
Cauleen Smith, Songs for Earth and Folk, 2013
August 6–9, 2020
The third and final screening in the Carl Craig Sessions film program features cinematic excavations of techno and the sonic Black Atlantic—Paul Gilroy’s notion of a circulatory, transnational diasporic culture—by Tony Cokes and Jenn Nkiru. Working in distinct styles that reveal the expansiveness of the techno aesthetic, Cokes and Nkiru trace transatlantic currents of sound and gesture, technologies that are equally mediums for the inscription of history as they are channels for envisioning alternative futures. The sample culture of techno finds cinematic analogues in the montage and the flicker, exposing a cross-pollination of the cinematic and the sonic within the broader ecosystem from which the techno movement emerged.
Tony Cokes, Mikrohaus, or the black atlantic?, 2006-2008
Jenn Nkiru, REBIRTH IS NECESSARY, 2017
Jenn Nkiru, BLACK TO TECHNO, 2019
Carl Craig: Party/After-Party is made possible by major support from Ford Foundation. Additional support is provided by Jeffrey Deitch and Nazy Nazhand and Kurosh Nasseri. Special thanks to Meyer Sound Laboratories Incorporated and RME/Synthax Inc.