“As you are falling, your sense of orientation may start to play additional tricks on you. The horizon quivers in a maze of collapsing lines and you may lose any sense of above and below, of before and after, of yourself and your boundaries”

—Hito Steyerl, In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective

A Dark Room Black Artist Union

FEB 2020

A Dark Room takes the form of two mini series that explore Black representation in film through self-expression and storytelling. These videos will be released sequentially on a weekly basis. Alongside the film series, A Dark Room serves as a place for interaction and discourse about Black film and Black media for the Black community; A Dark Room features an online archive, created by and for the community, so that we may control the narrative by documenting our own experiences. Only members of the Black community will be given access to this section of the website, and will have the opportunity to embed and link to their own content, creating a crowd-sourced archive.


The first video series, The Body Talks and I’m Listenin’, includes two videos: one captures queer Black nightlife in Toronto using a camcorder, while the second takes the form of a “Triller” montage of music videos with Black wimmin doing popular dances that have been appropriated by  mainstream culture. While Black culture is hugely influential to the mainstream, both offline and online, it is often framed broadly as “American/Canadian” culture, and the Black community seldom reaps any benefits or is credited. We want to flood online spaces with the originators of these dance styles, including queer nightlife, queer culture, and voguing, among others.

The second series, I Declare This Meeting of The Midnight Society Closed, features two videos; both works highlight the act of storytelling as a way to learn our histories and ancestral lineage. Black histories are otherwise left untold, or erased by colonialism. One video honors the domestic labour of Black wimmin,  whose efforts are normalized to a point of individual erasure. Black wimmin are given titles such as ‘caretaker’ and ‘nurturer’, while their individuality, dreams, aspirations, and hobbies are forgotten.

The final video is in direct dialogue with The Body Talks and I’m Listenin’, but it is much more fantastical; it takes the form of a collage of different stories provided to us by the Black community. It uses real life experiences to comment on individuality, breaking monolithic perceptions of blackness. This video can only be accessed by those with a unique link to the online archive.

20/20: Screening at Gallery 44
August 16th, 2019, 6:00pm-9:30 pm

Coinciding with Black Artist Union’s online exhibition A Dark Room, Gallery 44 will be hosting a screening and discussion on August 16th, from 6:00pm-9:30 pm. BAU will be screening their web series created for A maze of collapsing lines, as well as a black-made film chosen by the public. A question and answer period will follow the screenings. Food and refreshments will be served. This event is free to the public, and pre-registration is not required. For more information, please email sophia@gallery44.org

"Liver Nights" Jem Baptiste, 2019

"every time we get some, here y'all come trying to steal it"

Sylvia Limbana, Zoma Maduekwe, 2019

"summ-one", Oreka James, 2019