A Casual Mathematics 

What is the Solution to the Above Problem? 
Kameelah Janan Rasheed’s evolving series of archival inkjet prints, “A Casual Mathematics”, articulates racial inequality via the language of number. Measurement, approximation, and their signs and symbols are placed in relation to Black liberation, the ways society has been constructed, and history told. Prove that problem. The “awful arithmetic”, in the words of one black-and-white text collage, does not lie. Yet, in the recombinations of phrases, in the leaps between lines, her latest body of work expresses how complex lives cannot be reduced to fixed formulas. 

Rasheed works mainly with a Xerox machine, a tool for self-publication and DIY dissemination, to print diagrammatic poems or word-scores that are digitized and reprinted on to vinyl, photo paper, and other surfaces. These provisional prints are then mapped on to the larger score of the installation, where they interpolate viewers in physical space. In the rhythms of Black radical poetics, the walls voice fragments of a politics through the interaction between choice words and their graphic presentation. After Fred Moten’s In the Break, which figures Blackness as “—the extended movement of a specific upheaval, an ongoing irruption that anarranges every line—”, the installation refuses the continuity of the status quo. 

For her talk at SAVVY Contemporary titled „A Casual Mathematics“ the artist will address ideas of (un)learning, historical narration, and how proclamations of certainty, containment, and coherence assert themselves through language, institutional structures, and architecture.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed is an interdisciplinary artist and writer based in Brooklyn, NYC. She has exhibited at the EXPO Chicago (2019), Venice Biennale (2017), ICA Philadelphia, Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Museum, New Museum, and The Kitchen in New York. She is the author of two artist books: No New Theories (Printed Matter, 2019) and An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019). Rasheed is the founder of Mapping the Spirit, a digital archive that documents Black spiritual life in the US. Since 2018 she has collaborated with The Shed, New York, for the young person’s creative program DIS OBEY. Shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize in 2017, her work has also been featured in Artforum, BOMB, Guernica, the New York Times, Triple Canopy, and others.

On 29.11.2019, the artist will be opening her first solo-show in Europe at NOME Gallery Berlin