Blackbody, White Noise
by Ricardo iamuuri Robinson, summer 2022
As I read this question—What parts of the human condition are you making work for?—the term condition resonates with me the most. I feel in this moment the condition of humanity cannot avoid intersectionality and it is these intersections which inform our condition. Our senses may be understood as intersecting. When I create a work of art, for the most part, I appeal to these various ways of being informed. Given that my practice is based in large part on the sense of hearing, it is my duty to know the listening process.
I have a habit of saying, “The listener is always the composer.” And I stand by that statement in this conversation. But this declaration in conversation with our human condition reveals my target audience. I do work to awaken the listener to reclaim their position of authority in order to engage in anything seemingly authoritarian. Much of my radio art integrates the use of field recordings, archive clips, advertisements, interviews and lectures.
I started creating Blackbody, White Noise to defy the authority of whiteness and everywhere authoritarianism appeared. History, religion, philosophy, science, medicine, environmentalism, geography, economics, law, art, etc.—in essence the world we are familiar with today.
In retrospect, Blackbody, White Noise can be seen as a creative critical theory that calls into question the ideals of Western Civilization and its ideals of progress and the inherent racist and dehumanizing practices within.
All the work I do is influenced by maps, kites and scopes.
Maps, for helping the listener with a sense of orientation.
Kites, to remind the listener a deeply rooted perception of freedom.
And scopes, to encourage the listener to go beyond their own perspective to consider the big picture and a more complex soundscape.
These reminders are my guiding principles in navigating the world of artistic creation.
Chapter One: M. NourbeSe Philip, Louis Daniel Armstrong , Ambervision Infomercial , Huston Smith, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, BLACK on BLACK by Joe Saltzman , Margaret Mead, Daniel Quinn, Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Jimi Hendrix- Star Spangled Banner, Anthony T. Browder, Russell Means, Documentary The Milgram Experiment , Alice Walker, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, Chude-Sokei, Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Alex Haley, Amina Baraka, Russell Means, David Roberts, Duck and Cover, Elizabeth Kolbert, Osofo Kofitse Ahadzi, Kwame Ture, Miriam Makeba, James Dewey Watson, Paul Robeson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Wiener Today, Georgia Bea Jackson, Marvin Gaye- Star Spangled Banner, Zora Neal Hurston, Haunani-Kay Trask , Jessica Valoris-Xigga, Douglas E. Brash-Sunlight Continues To Damage Skin, Aldous Huxley, Greatest Story Ever Told- Sun, Kathryn Yusoff, Joseph S. Nye, GCSE Science Revision Physics: Black Body Radiation , Carolyn Finney, Malidoma Patrice Somé, Carl Sagan, Fred Moten , Shock G., Sindiwe Magona
Ricardo iamuuri Robinson is an interdisciplinary conceptual sound artist whose work explores acoustic ecologies—a discipline studying the relationship, mediated through sound, between human beings and their environment. His work activates and responds to the utterance: “The listener is always the composer.” Employing research, field recordings, archiving, media archeology and creative listening engagements, Robinson invites listeners to cultivate a deeper understanding of the ways in which listening and sound informs our sense of place, time and awareness.