Hello darkness, my old friend | KEYNOTES


NdN Popular Culture: Musings on Cultural Appropriation and Representation

This talk will explore the meaning of NdN popular culture. Using various cultural artifacts, including Indigenous hip-hop, television shows, and movies, I will analyze the various forms of cultural politics and the limits of representation as Indigenous artists produce them within mainstream US popular culture.

Kyle T. Mays is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies, American Indian Studies, and History at UCLA. He is a transdisciplinary scholar of urban history and studies, Afro-Indigenous Studies, and contemporary popular culture. He is the author of Hip Hop Beats, Indigenous Rhymes: Modernity and Hip Hop in Indigenous North America (SUNY Press, 2018), An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2021), and City of Dispossessions: Indigenous Peoples, African Americans, and the Creation of Modern Detroit (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022).


La Nuit américaine: Artificial Darkness and Race in Recent American Art

Beginning with Dawoud Bey’s series of photographs, Night Coming Tenderly, Black (2017), this talk explores two essential features of the American night: its technologized artificiality and its nebulous yet lethal racism. Less a product of nature than of darkroom techniques and historical oppression, Bey’s nocturnes are an essential gateway to rethink the relationship between artificial darkness and race in recent American art.

Noam M. Elcott is Associate Professor for the history of modern art and director of the Center for Comparative Media at Columbia University. He is also an editor of the journal Grey Room. Elcott is the author of the award-winning book Artificial Darkness: An Obscure History of Modern Art and Media (University of Chicago Press, 2016; paperback 2018), as well as essays on art, film, and media published in leading journals, anthologies, and exhibition catalogues. His current book projects are ArtTM: A History of Modern Art, Authenticity, and Trademarks and Photography, Identity, Status: August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century.