"The varied projects of transdisciplinary collective HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN? are designed to function as laboratories for the investigation and production of discourse.
Commissioned for the Art in the Age of the Internet website, No Humans Involved is an experimental digital augmentation of an exhibition project first realized in 2015 at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, Netherlands. According to the collective, the exhibition was imagined originally as a “meditative interrogation of the philosophical, social, and institutional conditions that have outlined the parameters for the category “human” within Western discourses.” The exhibition’s title references feminist writer and philosopher Sylvia Wynter’s 1994 essay “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues,” written in the wake of the unrest in Los Angeles following the acquittal of the LAPD officers responsible for the brutal beating of Rodney King. Following these events, it was revealed that the designation “no humans involved” was used routinely in reports for any case “involving young Black males who were unemployed, urban dwelling, and victims of gang violence, as well as cases involving the unsolved murders of primarily black, queer folk and human beings who were not imagined as worthy of personhood,” as articulated by the collective. No Humans Involved hinges on the enduring relevance, and indeed the immediate urgency, of reading and evaluating Wynter’s text, through a range of artworks and texts that explore, in the group’s formulation, “the potential of collectivity as a vehicle through which an unencumbered aesthetics of Blackness might be explored.”
Jeffrey De Blois
The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston