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Berkeley Talks transcript: The performance of labor

six people sit on chairs next to each other
(UC Berkeley photo by Barbara Montano)

Listen to Berkeley Talks episode #134: ‘The performance of labor.’

[Music: “Silver Lanyard” by Blue Dot Sessions]

Intro: This is Berkeley Talks, a Berkeley News podcast from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Acast or wherever you listen. New episodes come out every other Friday.

[Music fades]

Jeremy Geffen: Good morning, everyone. Hello and welcome to Zellerbach Hall. I’m Jeremy Geffen. I’m the executive and artistic director for Cal Performances, and we so we feel fortunate to have you all with us and to be able to partner with The Black Studies Collaboratory at UC Berkeley for this morning’s panel discussion. And I’m going to actually turn this over to someone who is far more knowledgeable and far more personable than myself. Professor Leigh Raiford, who is the director of The Black Studies Collaboratory.

Leigh Raiford: Good morning, I’m so excited to see you all here. My name is Leigh Raiford and I’m a professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies here at UC, Berkeley and I am the director and Co-PI with Professor Tianna Paschel of the Black Studies Collaboratory. The collaboratory is a recipient of a Mellon Foundation’s Just Future grant, which is a collaborative initiative to address racial inequality through bold and unique humanities based research projects. We are thrilled to be partnering with Cal Performances on today’s event, which also happens to be the first of 10 events organized by the Abolition Democracy Fellows Program of the collaboratory. You can find out more about our spring series in flyers that are downstairs, at the entrance, as well is at our website, blackstudiescollab.berkeley.edu. So we are gathering here today in person from the Zellerbach Hall Mezzanine here at UC Berkeley.

This campus is cited on the territory of the Huichin, the ancestral and unseated land of the Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone, the successors of the historic and sovereign band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and other familial descendants of the Verona Band. We recognize that every member of the Berkeley community has and continues to benefit from the use and occupation of this land since the institution’s founding in 1868. We acknowledge and pay respect to Muwekma Ohlone ancestors, peoples today, and the Muwekma Ohlone future to come.

In acknowledging the Ohlone history of this land, we acknowledge that the Ohlone people are thriving members of the Berkeley community, who are actively imagining more just futures and engaging the tools that are needed to do that imaginative work. So whether you are joining us from Ohlone land, from elsewhere on Turtle Island or beyond, thank you for being with us today, and a special shout out to my parents in Atlanta who are on the livestream. The Black Studies Collaboratory is committed to amplifying the world building work of Black studies and the Abolition Democracy Fellows Program is a centerpiece of the collaboratory. Since September, the 15 fellows in our program, ages 20 to 76, artists and academics from a range of disciplines, speaking multiple languages, at various stages in their careers, gathered weekly, with care and audacity, with wonder and joy to envision alternative presence and futures.

The fellows curated this 10 event series, and we invite you all into this shared space of critical engagement and collaborative imagining. Now creating the conditions of care, where people can dream big is hard work. Its hard collective work. So before I turn it over to the luminous Ra Malika Imhotep, curator and moderator of today’s event, Tianna Paschel and I want to thank all of those folks who have made today possible. Black Studies Collaboratory project manager extraordinaire, Barbara Montano. Our awesome collaborative graduate student assistant Gilberto Rosa-Duran. The Department of African American Studies held brilliantly by chair professor Nikki Jones. Our incredible department, administrative staff, Sandy Richmond, Maria Erevia, and reading room attended department archivist, Franchesca Araújo.

We want to thank Cal Performances staff, especially director Jeremy Geffen, Mina Girgis, and Rica Anderson. Thank you to Educational Technology Services for their incredible tech support. I want to thank our Spanish language interpreters, Marcy and Elena in the back. If anyone needs Spanish language interpretation, there are devices for your use. We have to thank, of course, the Andrew Mellon Foundation. I want to thank the artists who are joining us today. esperanza spalding, brontë velez, X’ene Sky and Gallery of the Streets (kai lumumba barrow + jazz franklin) for making the time to be with us here today.

I want to thank the ancestors who always walk with us, and I want to thank all of you who are here and masked at Zellerbach, and all of you joining us via YouTube. And I want to thank especially the curator and moderator of today’s event, Abolition Democracy Dissertation Writing Fellow Ra Malika Imhotep.

From Atlanta, Georgia, Ra Malika is a Black feminist writer and performance artist, currently completing a Ph.D. In African Diaspora Studies and New Media Studies here at UC Berkeley. As a scholar and cultural worker, Ra has invested in exploring relationships between queer Black femininities, Black vernacular cultures and the performance of labor. As a steward of Black studies and Black feminist thought, Ra dreams, organizes and facilitate spaces of critical reflection and embodied spiritual political education. Ra is a co-convener of the church of Black Feminist Thought, an embodied spiritual political education project. Ra’s also a member of the Black Aesthetic Curatorial Collective, and Ra’s co-author of The Black Feminist Study Theory Atlas, which is available for sale at the Berkeley Art Bookstore, and author of Gossypiin, forthcoming from Red Hunt Press this spring. The Black Studies Collaboratory has been shaped profoundly by Ra’s expansive practice, by their radiant intellect and by their inter-dimensional vision. I’m absolutely thrilled that we are opening our Black Studies Collaborative spring event series with The Performance of Labor/The Labor of Performance, curated by Ra Malika Imhotep. Giving it over to you.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Hi. Hello everyone I’m so happy to be here. I feel like I’m literally inside of a dream. So thank you all for being there with me. I guess I’m not hallucinating because there are witnesses. This is such an auspicious occasion, and that’s a word that was enriched for me by the work of brontë velez. We are gathered here today in the wake of the ascension of funk luminary Betty Davis, following the birthday of Leontyne Price, the birthday of Mary Lovelace O’Neal, and today, I just discovered is Flo Kennedy’s birthday so we’re just in a season of Black feminist time marking.

And I feel so honored to be gathering here in the wake of that legacy. In the essay, The Anarchy of Colored Girls Assembled in a Riotous Manner, Saidiya Hartman writes, “Survival required acts of collaboration and genius. The mutuality and creativity necessary to sustain life in the context of intermittent wages, control deprivation, economic exclusion, coercion, and anti-Black violence often bordered on the extra legal and the criminal.” Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments entailed what W.E.B Dubois described as an open rebellion against society. And these creators who will join me here shortly, come on down, come on down.

Anywhere you want. These creators gathered here today embody, express and execute beautiful wayward experiments that have reshaped the terrain of my own Black feminist thought and practice. I met brontë at a distance, admiring the poetry of their words and that of their body as they blazed trails through Atlanta as a young spoken word poet and pre-professional dancer. We would become more formally acquainted when they joined me at Brandeis University, in the second cohort of posse scholars to be dispatched from Atlanta.

And it was God’s blessing when upon graduation, they flew westward to apprentice themselves to the work of permaculture and spiritual ecology. I met X’ene on Twitter and or around 2016 and was quickly impressed by their embodied relationships to the work and legacy of Nina Simone. Since that very millennial beginning, I have been in constant awe of the worlds of sound they create in their angelic sense of self fashioning. I have never met an artist, an organizer who more artistically embodies Nina Simone’s call to reflect the times through classic pian skills, classic vocalist trainings, and just a whole world of loving imagination that tends to our living and our dying.

kai + jazz of Gallery of the Streets swept me off my feet during a cacophony of sound and play, and ideas I was hungry for during an open rehearsal of their abolitionist global funk visual opera in Atlanta in 2018. During the convergence of the National Women’s Studies Association, the American Studies Association, the 20th anniversary of Critical Resistance and the 25th anniversary of Southerners on New Ground.

After a visit with them at a tequila barn, New Orleans, the following year, they invited me to join their Black surrealist study group and were a big factor in my decision to reroute my dissertation route through the Dirty South via New Orleans. I have jokingly described my two years of field and feeling work in New Orleans as me defecting from the academy and joining a band of Black surrealist Maroons. And kai lumumba barrow is the conductor. I was brought into esperanza’s orbit by brontë and their alchemy of community. Like many, if not all of you, her voice has to quote bell hooks, tutored my heart. But in our encounters through brontë, I have come to know and adore the curiosity of her spirit in the medicine of her genius. This gathering is a dream come true.

Now, before I dive into my discussion prompts and true to my grounding as a spiritual political education component, I would like to offer us all a moment to mindfully check in and enter this space of discussion together. If you are willing and able, I invite you to just take a moment to breathe. Maybe you breathe into your root. You can access that through the bottom of your feet or your seat. If it is accessible to you, I invite you to rub your hands together and produce some heat. And when you start to feel the work of that friction, offer that heat to wherever on your body needs it. And continue to breathe at your own pace. And now I invite you to take that heat to your heart. And offer it to that part of yourself that so eagerly wants to be seen and known, and heard. And say to that part, in your head or out loud, Darling, I see you.

Darling, I hear you. Darling, I love you. Darling, I am here with you. And may this sense of loving presence just hold us here as we journey together. As now I am in the driver’s seat, putting on my conductor hat, and guiding this beautiful convening of artists to discuss the contours of creative practice, thank you.

Okay. Are we on? Well, welcome everyone. I was telling everybody earlier that my true joy is just getting this group of people together and I’m honored that we have witnesses, again proof that it happened, that I’m not hallucinating. Okay, all set. Thank you. See, I appreciate you. So my first question, or the first place I would like to anchor this journey is just to ask you each, what is your work and what, if any lineages and traditions, you feel a part of. Don’t feel beholden to the seating order. No need for linear progression, but what is your work? And you can describe it in as abstract or concrete terms as you desire.

X’ene Sky: Okay. Can you hear me? Yeah. I think on paper, I’m a pianist, I’m a vocalist, I am a composer. I think my work is releasing sound and emotion from my body. I think that’s usually my primary function, in playing a lot with my own breath. I think I come from as far as traditions, enslaved queer people. I think that’s a big one. I feel like the slave is always present in my work, in my life, and I need it to be. I don’t want to live in a world where slavery is not at the forefront of what I’m doing, what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking. What else? I love how you mentioned Hartman and Ra like queer Black girls.

I think that is also a big tradition and legacy for me as well. I think also ancestrally, I think a lot of my work plays with dreams and things that come to me in ways that are not always discernible via language.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Mm-hmm.

X’ene Sky: But come to me via breath, or via sound, or via scream. So really projecting and not even decoding, just letting that exist in the space.

Ra Malika Imhotep: I see resonance.

jazz franklin: Yeah, I’ll go. What I resonated with was what you were talking about with ancestors and your lineage. So I am a documentarian, mostly working with digital video. But I think the lineage that I come out of is watching my grandfather, Cecil Carter take photos when I was a kid. And he’s been dead for 20 years, but I think just now realizing the importance of what he was doing as a documentarian and an archivist and looking at how these photos are so precious to me now, is a big part of my practice and recognizing that. So yeah.

kai lumumba barrow: I like that we’re just going to start out real easy.

Ra Malika Imhotep: They’re going a line.

kai lumumba barrow: But we never, ever, ever do nothing nice. Easy, but we are going to start out nice. Okay, I’m silly. That is part of my lineage. I am on the tail end of the baby boomer generation. And so I am strongly influenced as an artist by the Black Arts Movement and I come out of Chicago. So those were my artists who participated actively in that movement, from AfriCobra and Muntu dance company, et cetera, were part of my growing up AACM. So I was always around that energy and I was exhilarated. And so, I’m also coming out of the lineage of organizing and movement building. And also at that time, there was a big movement around Black studies at the university. So I was surrounded. My father was a professor, so I was surrounded by a lot of students who were pushing for these ideas around Black studies.

And so for me, that kind of connection at 10, when I read the autobiography of Malcolm X, and then at 12, when I read Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye, I was, I want to be a revolutionary artist. And so since that point, I think I’ve been trying to, in many different ways. Because a question of revolution is an evolving question, right? But I’ve been trying to really look at what that means in my practice, in my relationships, and make sure that we’re not coming up against a trite didactic way of expressing something as broad as say, a Black liberation project, right? And so, at this point as an abolitionist, I was one of the founding members of Critical Resistance and really looking at these ideas of hierarchy and carceral landscapes. I started really thinking as a painter and a site specific installation artist about how can we transform space and practice?

And so a lot of my work, situated in Black abstraction, is about reclaiming space. And so my paintings are very large, they’re double-sided, they’re really textured. They’re bright, Kool-Aid colors as [inaudible], they get in your face. They shine. They do all the things because to some degree, I’m trying to make more of a sculptural space, we’re dealing with the objects right? And so I think there’s that tension, especially in the Black arts movement, between representational art and abstraction. And I’m feeling that, as a free jazz idea, the more that we’re situated in abstraction, the broader our imaginations can go. So I’m really trying to get there and I’m so glad you shouted out Mary Lovelace O’Neal, whose birthday was yesterday, who was on this campus. Total fan girl, total fan girl.

Anybody got her number? Oh, I’m so scared. Oh my God, let me get that number. Jayne Cortez, bell hooks, right? The list goes on, the ways when we think I’m going to stop in a second, but when we think about Black feminism has applied through Black abstractions, then I’m really thinking about strategic abstraction, how do we make this space, this interior space, a new space? So that’s, that’s what I’m trying to do. Now if I’m doing it well, the people will know or whatever, it’s an experiment. I’m trying it.

esperanza spalding: All right. Hallelujah. I’m so invigorated. Well, I think my real work has been hidden from me. For my whole life. And only recently, as I surrender these signifiers of the things that I am named for as a creator.

Of the things that I am named for as a creator, I’m starting to see this intersection that my life is of many lineages, many lineages of peoples of the earth. And I’m feeling the real work that I am here doing, probably will remain illegible on the surface. But I recognize that part of it is about these technologies that I inherit as an African-ancestored person, actually flowing to tend the traumatized abandoned European ancestors and work at the root of this trauma of being unrooted.

And I feel that it’s not a popular practice, and it’s probably not legible through portrayal in any ways that it would move through my body. But I feel this invitation from the intersection of my life to allow all of these technologies that have flown into my life through music and through these lineages of “jazz” or freedoms of expression and self-inquiry. Inviting them to flow and do this radical invitation and out-chemical work with the forgotten ones, that are not forgotten through the bodies of many of us and through many systems of white supremacy, occupation, and brutality.

So I’m saying this with this glassed over stare into the distance because it shocks me too. And I’m uncomfortable with it. And I see why it’s been hidden until I’m 37, but I feel that, that actually might work. And it’s not going to be named on the marquee or the name of an album, but that’s my work.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Okay.

brontë velez: Well, I feel grateful to feel gathered by all that has come, all that’s been said this far, and to feel recognized, to be able to collect myself through both being last, to answer this question. And through the articulation and the joints… Articulating the joints, where I feel pieced together through your shares. So many threads came up from you all shares that made me think about what my work is, honestly.

And jazz, when you shared about your grandfather, I felt that I am in the tradition of growing up, being a descendant of Black mad people, both angry and disturbed, and elsewhere and else when. And my grandfather passed in 2020 and has really been guiding my spirit about eligibility, about being willing to be in my own logic and to trust that logic and permit something that is distinct to my spirit to come through. And something that I always shared that he said to me in a conversation, when he was waxing about his Ph.D. in metaphysics that he had… Oh, no. Actually this time it wasn’t about the Ph.D. in metaphysics. It was a Ph.D. in… Oh, I can’t remember what the language was. It was something… He had many Ph.D.s that he would speak to, that he had because he had his own merit.

And in this moment where he was talking to me about one of his Ph.D.s, he spoke to… at the end of that share saying that it wasn’t because he was stupid, but that it took him a long time to refresh his memory that he was Black. So I feel like a lot of my work is about refreshing my memory, particularly through my relationship to the earth.

And yeah, I feel like a lot of my work is at the intersections of Black pastoral care. Both pastoral in the sense of ministry and abolitionists theologies, and just being close to God and Sabbath, and also in gathering people coming from Black ministers, and folks who hosted people and held sanctuary for people. And also pastoral as in the sense of being out with animals, and being out with the land, and dedicating my life to taking care of place as they take care of me. Particularly the land that I coast through with my partner in Kashaya Pomo territory, is what is taking care of me at this moment and is my work.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Thank you. Oh, wow. See, y’all get it now, right?

kai lumumba barrow: Yeah, I do. I see y’all doing.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Well, before moving into a question about creative practice, I’m wondering if y’all would riff a bit on two words that just came up or two concepts that just came up, free jazz and eligibility. So I’m going to just put that on the floor and see who picks it up.

kai lumumba barrow: I hate that word legibility, okay? Someone described our work as… early on, not early on, but first time I heard the term, she was using it, not in a positive way to say that my work was illegible, right? And so I was pondered by this. I was like, “legible to who? What are you talking about? Why are you talking like that? First of all.” And then from there, “What do you mean?” Right? And so I really am inspired by what you’re saying, because also the people that I’m trying to stay in relationship with. And I like when everybody was talking about… Oh, sorry. I like how everybody was talking about and at one point I was like, “I think I’m becoming the slavery artist.” Right?

Because all my stuff is like cotton that I’ve picked and sugarcane I’ve cut. And I’m, so feeling the enslaved Black woman and where was her agency, right? And all my work keeps going there. And so I was like, “They just have to be in the room.” And I’m like, “Whether they’re legible or not, I see you.” Right? And so that’s the value, right? So I don’t know. So yeah, who’s written it. Anybody else?

esperanza spalding: … I don’t know if this is on. Was somebody about to speak. Oh, I’m thinking about the two words in and of themself. I got to be in a room once with this group called Post-commodity. I believe it’s led by Raven Chacon and two other misty soul and Indigenous artists. And the word… Somebody asked for a definition of freedom. And so all these beautiful people of color on the room were offering their definitions. And around the middle of the circle, this brother from Raven Chacon’s band was like, “Freedom is a colonial term.”

kai lumumba barrow: Right, Right.

esperanza spalding: He was like, “That word has been used to genocide, my people. So I… ” That word itself, we’re borrowing the word to try to describe something that’s coming from elsewhere. And the term itself asks for the concept to contort to the service of the term. And then the word jazz is another word that is an invention. It did not emerge from the community’s creating the music. It was put onto to feel like we have the capacity to signify what that is. So even those terms, I feel like we use them like a passport.

kai lumumba barrow: We do.

esperanza spalding: To be like, “Okay, I’m able to enter this territory and get the resources I need to move from point A to point B undisturbed. So I’m going to put the signifier up that says, free jazz and y’all can sit back and not try to tell me what this is or isn’t.” And I also think that’s a really joyous way to engage with these terms and these signifiers that didn’t emerge from our own creative practices. Allowing them to be a technology and a play thing that we can put and move around when we want and not beholden to. That’s all I had to say.

kai lumumba barrow: That’s right. That’s right. Because it’s the sound, and I use the language jazz and I’m like ACM musicians are like, “We’re not jazzed. It’s not… Don’t say that.” I was like, “What about the tunes?” They’re like, “No, don’t really, really don’t say that.” But this idea of it giving us space to move around is why I think we can play in there with that Sonics, but the language of jazz or opera, the words right. Is for the marketplace. It is not… That’s what… I’m hearing you saying terms of like, and I agree with that if that’s what you’re saying. In terms of that’s what people who were practicing it, named it. That’s what the marketplace named it. So…

Ra Malika Imhotep: X’ene, you got some sauce for that dish?

X’ene Sky: I don’t think so.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Okay, thank you. I honor that. Well, Kai just offered opera, which is another signifier that I think through my engagements with the work of Gallery of the Streets, got exploded for me. And a big part of the thinking behind this curation was being in conversations where I remember Kai saying, “We have to reach towards the operatic as something big enough to hold Blackness, big-ish enough.” Right? And then that same refrain came up in some of the work I was engaging from brontë and esperanza. And then I was sitting somewhere and talking to Xienn and you were also thinking through the idioms of opera. So I’m wondering if there’s a way… if y’all would like to comment on what that signifier allows for you. If it is distinct or different than what free jazz is opening up.

X’ene Sky: Yeah. I can say for me, opera is very much a creolization of different forms. And I think it’s very, again, tied to slavery and this combination of… or existing in white spaces and the way in which you can take up space and maneuver. I think of Jesse Norman and the bigness and the vastness of her voice, but it was always opera. It was still opera. It was still never hers, culturally. And for me, I don’t think opera is supposed to be ours culturally in that way. I think opera does rub up against me and causes me friction because I am the slave and I’m not African, I’m not European, I’m in that interstices space.

And I think that at least for me is why opera challenges me, but also can excite me in moments. Because it’s like, “Okay, what is the violence that’s going on there?” That’s the violence that I come from though. I am a part of that violence, right? I am in many ways mixed race, Black woman, right? Coming from slavery, coming from these traditions. So my involvement, my understanding, even the language used in opera, we’re still using Western notation. I haven’t seen an opera where we’re not doing that. So yeah. I think really… I don’t even want to say interrogating, I think just really sitting with what opera actually is for me right now is very important.

brontë velez:  I’m thinking about Esperanza and I talking about how there ain’t no way this sound, that register, didn’t begin with a Black woman’s voice. Where you could know something so intimately, through the experience of your flesh, that you could go to that vibration and sing at that register to go to that place. I just don’t think that came from white people. Is what I’m trying to say. Even though there is both this, the way I think, opera as an institution is very associated with class. It’s like these things around you fall asleep or you pay a lot of money or there’s where you sit that names your status.

There’s so much associated with that. And then when I think about what’s underneath, the underbelly of it, it does feel so Black to me. To be able to with all of your body and spirit more than vocalize, [bottle lies 00:38:26] but corporealize, it’s just so big to collaborate with sound in that way that’s so powerful. And I just want to, I’ve been so interested about the etymology of opera being work. Which brings me to the questions around labor. Yeah. And yeah, what is that about?

jazz franklin: Yeah, I think when I think of opera, I also think of this space where I don’t belong. And I think when I joined Gallery of the Streets or we started this project, Kai framed it like, opera is a folk art. Originally it’s for the people. It’s a traveling theater and people could learn stories or hear cultural traditions from this genre. And then I think it evolved, but I think what’s so interesting about what Gallery the Streets is doing is that we make the opera absurd and abstract. I think it’s not necessarily a traditional opera, but I’m going to throw it to you in a second. But we use sound and visuals to abstract the genre and also create a space for people to actively engage. And I think that really transforms what traditionally we know as opera. Kick it, Kai.

kai lumumba barrow: No. Okay I talk a lot, right? I’m an Aquarius with a Gemini rising, chatty, chatty, chatty. This is my shit. Intellectual musing. So I’m apologizing upfront to everybody. Feel free to cut me off, jump in, but I do have thoughts about some of these things. Okay. Okay, so yes, yes, yes. I agree with things that are said, and I think… I love what you just said, Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach Triptych. Yeah and her breathing and all that is operatic.

My character in our visual opera is a DJ. So I like to play the tunes. And so we tend to start a lot with that and its real heavy, if people have heard it and that’s operatic wail songs. You know what I maen?That’s operatic. So that blood, that Black blood, right? Or that blood that’s tied to the bottom, I think it is to not be named, right? We did a piece called echo hybridity and one of our people who we collaborate, one of members of Gallery streets just sat in the corner in of the room and just was…

jazz franklin Wailing?

kai lumumba barrow: She was wailing. And I didn’t really know what was happening, right? Because I’m like, so I walked by and I was like, “What the hell, Wendy?” And I didn’t realize that she was in this character. Her character… What was her…

jazz franklin: They who hold the bones.

kai lumumba barrow: They who hold the bones. So she was just sitting in this posture and she’s this… She takes space. Right, she takes space. So she’s just sitting and she’s got this really deep voice from the gut and she’s just wailing it. And it’s so intense. Just the voice, not necessarily what it’s saying, but the ability to go into it and bring it out is something I’m into with the opera… Not the narrative, I don’t know. You making one?

esperanza spalding: Yes, it’s making us too. I mean, it’s unmaking us in a lot of ways. When I walked past the [met 00:43:00] the last time in my life, I was curious to see who funded it. Thinking about this institution as pinnacle representation of opera in the United States. And I was looking at all these names that were embossed gold, off of a granite wall, a marble wall. And all of their names were these protruding words and gold. And it was all companies and investment firms and banks and… Suddenly, I started thinking about the desperation to encounter the undomesticated and the sacred, but this equal parts desperation to encounter and to feel in control of those forces as you’re encountering them.

And I started to feel in that moment, that opera was a really specific design. A really specific technology to make a curated encounter for wealthy people who have strategically removed themselves from real relationship with the undomesticated and the sacred and recreated for themselves, this portal through which they can encounter it according to their terms, their story and their ownership. And right in that moment, the whole medium started to feel so different.

And I started to think, “What is it about this way of human voicing, bodying, that is so magnetic to structures of power.” And I feel that maybe part of it is, it is one of the most profound things we can do with our body, I think adjacent to giving birth. It is such a unbelievably powerful activity just in the body. And I get a sense that it’s terrifying and that people can really sense that latent power of human potential moving through the body.

And I’m so excited for the ways that I’m seeing that spirit technology or body technology of the medium itself leaking out of the bottom of that very hard, monarchistic, system of development and permeating the community. Permeating our lives, permeating our stories, our dreams, our shared space. And just to use one of the things in the world I learned through brontë, this idea of the terma, it feels to me like opera is this terma. It’s like a technology of humanity that had to be…

Technology of humanity that had to be fugitive through these halls to keep developing, to keep growing, to keep finding what else we could find in it. And now it’s done with being held by the names on that marble wall. You don’t get to occupy me and move me to your designs anymore. I’m going to go move where I need to go and you figure out how the fuck to get access to the sacred and the undomesticated on your own.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Absolutely.

esperanza spalding: There we go.

Ra Malika Imhotep: esperanza, you bringing in the Met, it has me thinking about another one of the threads that started to see this vision for me was being at the house of our elder and residents of the Black studies collaborator, Ms. Daphne Muse. And on the wall, when you enter her kitchen, she had framed this Japanese silk program that her father acquired through a service occupation, I believe, of silk printed program for the opening of the Met. And looking at that, she showed us that it featured Leontyne Price. It was Alvin Ailey’s choreographic debut. I was sitting there stunned with Kae Barrel’s definition of Opera in my head.

Looking towards the kind of gilded institution of opera and realizing that black creative labor had always been a part of that choreography. And I think what you just raised about like this very specifically shaped container which empower white folks in a imperialist, white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist society, allowed themselves access to the sacred. And in this American context, it necessitated that Black women’s voice and that Black queer man’s body. And I think that is something that is still teaching me and was part of what drove me to bring y’all together.

esperanza spalding: Yes.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Yeah, I’m thinking my next, kind of, discussion anchor that kind of shivers in me was about wondering how you all would describe the textures of your creative process. And the ways. It’s come up a little bit. I’m thinking about presences and hauntings, but in a way that’s not the white ghost story, but of what it means to be kin with your dead folks. And how that shows up in creative practices. But, I’m wondering if you all might riff on or share what you feel comfortable sharing right? Because not everything is meant to be known. What the kind of textures and feels of your particular practices have been? Or what your collaboratory processes are, like the texture of the work that you do with others?

jazz franklin: For me, that question’s a little bit difficult. I think I’m in a of transition with my work, trying to pull it out of a digital space where you have access to so much and you can take an unlimited amount of photos or an unlimited amount of video, but I think sometimes digital lacks texture and depth, in a way, even though it’s a cheap way to archive things.

So I think my practice is somebody who is documenting and starting to archive Black radical traditions. Specifically with Gallery of the Streets, I think moving more towards analog film creates this different texture, and also different visceral relationship that slows you down. And then also offers a texture that’s bright. I’m not really sure how to answer your question, but I think, for me, that is where I’m going. And I appreciated that question because it helps me think about the making of the work. And I think with our work too, the Gallery of the Streets is layered. I think that’s also a challenge in this kind of way that I grew up, everything is immediately gratifying. I see something and I realize what it is and I’m like ” Oh I got that.” But when you sit with work, that is abstract and illegible, you have to really sit with it and take your time and, kind of go into a place of unknowing and be comfortable with that. So that’s kind of where I am with that question.

kai lumumba barrow: Back to the rhythm. Okay. That’s a hard question. I had to think about that a bit. Cause I don’t know what you mean. That was a good challenge. Right? I thought about it. I was like, “What is the texture?” Because my work, I try to be very textured right? So ideally, I would’ve loved to be able to spread dirt here. You know I would and you know I would get it up, but I like to deal with the materials of the matter. I like to work with matter, and then I like to work with space. So matter and space. And I’m trying to get more and more in that direction, let go of the object, right? So I think my textures are very tactile. So right now I’m working a lot with cotton, and if you all come to the workshop, I’ve brought it on the flight, which was probably hilarious the way it’s seeped out of the suitcase.

I know the TSA people were like “What the?” So I brought a big suitcase of cotton that I’ve picked, so that we can actually, if we want, engage that as a really intense visual for those who have never seen cotton, which grows everywhere. I’ve been working a lot with sugar cane, we went and chopped some up. So I’m really trying to put myself in the position of the labor that Black women, enslaved Black women, engaged. So that as I’m working with all the materials, which were engaged by enslaved Black women diasporicly. I’m having a sense of what that labor feels like in my body. And it’s a performance of the labor because I’m not picking. Nobodies standing behind me with a rifle. And I understand the obvious limitations of that, but the process of gathering, sorting, and then reconceptualizing in a way that might really sit on the edges of some kind of a palimpsest, right. I also work with collage. Is a way that I think I’m able to smudge, and peel, and pile, and just have this really physical relationship with tool materials that then translate into either spaces, paintings, or sculptures.

Ra Malika Imhotep: I just want to pause because I hear the bells, which signifies that it’s noon, and I know that Esperanza might have to depart or…

kai lumumba barrow: I can stay little longer.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Okay. Absolutely. Just checking in. Thank you.

kai lumumba barrow: Oh, that was a time warp world.

Ra Malika Imhotep: I know, where are we? And oh, I guess also I’ll mention there were cards on your seat. So if you have a question brewing, please write it down and then, pass it towards Lee Rayford in this lovely jumpsuit right here. And then…Yeah. Sorry for that technical interruption, but please, please, commence.

X’ene Sky: Yeah. I’ll actually… Do you hear me?

Ra Malika Imhotep: Yeah.

X’ene Sky: I’ll keep going. It’s funny. You mentioned traveling with cotton, and I’ve traveled with a lot of dirt before. And TSA is always like, “What is this? What do we do with it?”

kai lumumba barrow: Every time!

X’ene Sky: Yeah, exactly. But yeah, I like to use dirt and soil as a archive, as a tool, to access ancestors and other planes. And I think on the first question or second, as far as like collaboration, I really like to make sure I’m collaborating with spirit. I don’t feel like, personally, I have anything deeply interesting to say without that sort of like backing behind me. So I usually have to sleep a lot. I have to like take care of myself. I have to pray to specific exactly.

You know, and do all my like ritual alter work. So then I can sit down and it’s like, okay, this is what I’m talking about. This is what’s coming to me. This is what feels like it needs to be expressed. So always being in collaboration in that sense feels really vital. I think as far as texture, again, I go back to dirt. I think I’ve always been obsessed with dirt as a kid. Like the feeling of it in my hands, making it wet, watching it dry, putting it in my mouth, really feeling how it swivels around kind of cuts your teeth, things like that.

I think that relates a lot to my work because there’s a groundedness, there’s a rootedness that I’m always trying to access. I’m a Capricorn, I’m there always, but then there’s this other part of me that is like transient and airy and kind of open to being blown away or destroyed or vulnerable in a sense. And I like the way that dirt and moments can be very compact, but then when you kind of get down to it, it’s knitty, and gritty, and small, and you can’t really control it or contain it. And I think that usually fuels my work.

Ra Malika Imhotep: We can talk more about eating dirt too. I’m here for it.

esperanza spalding: I’m just feeling brontë here next to me and thinking about some…okay. Thinking about creative process and collaboratory process and I’m remembering, or touching into, the texture of my own humanity, or personhood. Or the constellation of beliefs and practices or ways of engaging or relating that make up this person of me. And so much of what feels like is being worked with, is that essence. And I just think of so much undoing or unraveling or unexpected exposure of things. Elements of how I am and move, and that feels like the primary texture. And it can feel really terrifying to feel, sometimes very exposed. Sometimes exposing my own internalized prejudice or patriarchy or insensitivities or brutalities even. And that it feels like the working, the creative practice, is like a working with those elements that come to light through the kind of inevitable vulnerability and, personal exposure of creating and collaborating.

And I think I’m touching into that partially, because you’re sitting next to me. And I feel that, so much of our creative process and this project that, we’re probably working on many projects and multiple dimensions, but it’s really felt like a crafting and evolving of the texture of myself. And the things that grow out of the creative process are little expressions or portraits or radiations from that main texture. And it feels really terrifying a lot of the time. And somebody spoke about being invited to sit with that unknown space and it feels like really that is also a texture of the creative practice. Of not knowing what you’re going to encounter about yourself and what somebody else might encounter first. And then you get to work with and actually. Newly, I want to say, coming from a practice of being an instrumentalist, which is a lot of alone time, that this creative practice and collaboratory space are feeling completely enmeshed, interwoven. And I’m really grateful for that evolution. And I pray for the spiritual endurance or softness to lean further into that way of being in creative practice.

brontë velez: I get to collect again. So thanks guys. Yeah. Just from that, from the tail end of what you just shared, I feel so grateful that so much of my processes are collaboratory. Be it with other Black femmes, or Black queer folks, or the land that I live with, or animals, or a spirit. Yeah, ancestors. I feel all of that. I feel great. And the other, I feel very much that my practice is also about collaborating with otherness. Also, as a mixed Black person and being curious about what it is to be with friction. And I know somebody in here knows the author of that text Frottage. Anybody? I don’t know what their name is.

Ra Malika Imhotep: I don’t know the last, but K’eguro.

brontë velez: Okay. Thank you. The text is about both frottage as like a word that means rubbing up against somebody in public on accident kind of liking it. Non-consensual, but it’s also about like… I’m so sorry. This is what the book is about. But it’s also about the kind of ways that Black folks across the diaspora have kind of been like lumped together. As though we are one being. And they use this language, the friction of our intimacy, of the friction of our distinctions and the ways we come to know ourselves, rub up against one another, of how we understand our own beingness. And that Blackness is not monolithic. So, it’s not going to have this. Actually, when we spoke to the texture, my texture felt very corrugated in the work, but there’re crevices and cracks and fractures where so much is then available.

So, I’m grateful for that kind of place. And I was thinking a lot about with just touch and not that touch, not frottage, but I was thinking about just a couple of weekends ago, getting to go to… I’m in this class right now called fleece to garment. That’s so cool. Working from all of the processes from shearing the sheep, to working with skirting the fleece, to carting the wool, to spinning the yarn, to making the garment. And I was touching the sheep wool. And it really was like that moment of there was a lot of white women at the class, and we were all touching this sheep wool, that I imagine you know what it felt like. And I didn’t like them touching it with me.

Because it was so… The hair, the highlights were even my color. Like, it was so in the crimp of the… Of the wool was my same color. And we were all like making contact. And there was something about that though, about us, both doing that and me feeling, this is an animal that I feel a type of way about as like we’re touching a Black person’s hair. That’s how I feel in my body. It’s registering in that way. So there’s something also about my creative process that I feel is about blurring Blackness and animality and inter species kinship. Where I really felt connected to the sheep and I’ll make some bundles. That’s going to be my garment, is making some bundles for some braids. Which none of them… Yeah, no, no. When I shared in the class that I wanted to do that and it was so clear, there wasn’t that recognition of what that meant to do that. So I think some of my other texture is about that that’s okay. And that I can say it now with people who know what it means, but being willing to go to sites of friction for, yeah, that closeness.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Wow. So much just hit me in the face. I feel like somebody just flicked holy water in my face. But I was thinking, as you were talking, brontë, about your encounter with our sheep kin. About this Lucille Clifton quote, “Being property once myself, I have a feeling for it.” And how, so much of that, and I know it’s been taken up in a book that’s probably great by Joshua Bennett. I haven’t read it. So I don’t know, but brilliant people who write poems too. But I’m thinking about just what it means to really live into that relation, particularly in a racialized and gendered body and how you come into that relation through craft. I’m also thinking about how so much of this kind of self-facing and self-effacing work of collaboration is so much a part of what abolition necessitates in this moment.

And I think that’s something that has sharpened and grown in me through my work with Gall of the Streets. Through the study that we’ve done and also through the dirt laying and toting and rock gathering, and pallet shipping. And I think that there’s something about… I know there’s a quote that’s right on the outside of my brain about how abolition is as much about creating and growing and building a new as it is about tearing down. But I’m thinking with you all. And I think I’m so moved. This was an unexpected part of my dream, that it would just so perfectly align with the work like the abolition democracy fellowship program is doing, or even just the way that we’ve talked. Kaye about how you have been doing this work for so long and are in this moment where it’s on the news, people talking about abolishing the prison industrial complex.

But even that, there’s this kind of a fervor that is very excited to demolish, which is necessary, but can overlook the kind of friction and tenderness and the necessary… The word coming to my mind is the necessary vulnerabilities, but that’s not all the way right. But of the actual work of building, creating, and envisioning a new. And I would love to just hold some space as we wait for questions together. Are there questions?

Just hold some space as we wait for questions together. Are there questions? Oh, okay.

Ra Malika Imhotep:
Oh. People out there in livestream land, please type your questions in the chat. So, some housekeeping, X’ene Sky. Clap. One more time.

jazz franklin: Are you doing pronouns too?

Ra Malika Imhotep: Oh, I don’t want to pronounce that for you all, but I could just let you all introduce yourselves and not have my moment.

X’ene Sky: I’m X’ene Sky. She/ her.

jazz franklin: I’m jazz franklin. Pronouns are Black, she/ her.

kai lumumba barrow: I’m kai lumumba barrow. I wish I could be so cool to have a cool pronoun like Black. It’s she/her, boring.

esperanza epalding: esperanza spalding and pronouns are she/her.

brontë velez: brontë velez, they/ them.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Thank you.

esperanza spalding: Something just came up. I’m getting a feeling. When we speak about creating the new, it makes me think of other practices of sustaining and you spoke about something, jazz, of this, like immediacy of the digital era and feeling like, “oh, I can engage with it and I got it. And the cycle’s complete.” And I’m by many, many pathways, I keep being invited to reckon with the responsibility of inviting new spaces of vulnerability and really sinking into the relationship and the commitment of devising new spaces for being in new ways of vulnerability and accountability with each other and how I tend to bring to the creation of new spaces, the same kind of beginning, middle, end mentality of consumerism that I extended myself, I got what I wanted and it’s done.

And I don’t have a point. I’m just noticing that the welling up of that awareness of longing for encounters with versions of continuity and ways that creators of these new alternative spaces and ways of holding each other can model and have modeled. Maybe I even have to give up other things that I’m used to investing energy or receiving validation from or whatever, to remain, present and remain in a commitment of sustaining with all its evolutions, this newfound developed space.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Well, I do have two cards here with questions on it. The first, what kinds of ways has your work/labor helped you/us to evade capture? And perhaps this is an opening to think with the Maroons who are a part of that constellation of the formerly enslaved, the enslaved that are with us, that I have seen and felt and experienced in all of your work in different ways.

kai lumumba barrow: I think playful. When you think about Black abstraction, I’ve been… Okay, I’m going to do a whole, can you hold this a sec. I’m going to do a movement person thing. You know how old movement people walk around with books and things.

So I’m walking around with a book, right, that I just read. And I really think it’s important. I mean, I’m reading and I really think it’s important for us to cite our sources and try to encourage each other to read these things if we can. But I’m so excited about this book, Black Post Blackness, by Margo Natalie Crawford and her second chapter is called The Politics Of Abstraction. And she talks about this idea of strategic abstraction and that part of abstract also has a satire and playfulness.

And I think about people like David Hammonds who is amazing in his book. I mean his installation Piece Concerto and Black and Blue, where people would come in with flashlights and be able to check what Blackness is in movement. And so just playing with things, usually we rarely are in museum and contained spaces. We tend to be in the field. We tend to do a lot of exploration. I, as a painter, refuse put paintings on the wall which is why they’re double sided and takes space. I won’t have them constrained. I want them to move out. So to try to work with a two dimensional object that can actually also be in motion and movement with the people who are engaging it. So you have to move with it. I think those are ways we evade capture.

And then I think our experiences of, oh my God, gathering information as participatory research, we’ve had quite some interesting experiences in places like Marianna Federal Prison For Women.

Right, so we walked into Marianna Federal Prison For Women. Literally drove up, opened the door, walked into the prison. And there was like a custodial person, like a prisoner was sweeping and nobody stopped us.

And so I was like, “Excuse me.” And he was like, “You’re not supposed to be in here. You’re not supposed to be in here.” I was like, “Shh.” But just looking at how we can cross borders from Heathrow to prisons, to just going into different huddles and holes because we taught the Maroons when we went to visit the Maroons in Jamaica. We went to visit Maroons in Jamaica and just happened to find a gathering of international Maroons because we were talking to people on the street.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Wow.

kai lumumba barrow: And they were like, “oh, you must be…” because you know the patriarch and “Hey, but is that your mother, is that your daughter, what is this?” And so we said, we’re looking for Maroons in order to get to patriarchy back. And they said, “oh, well you need to go to such and such.” And so we just ended up at this place. So I think being open, being playful, like our way… Who looks at us and thinks of us as at all threatening?

jazz franklin: A playful subterfuge.

kai lumumba barrow: Right. So that’s how we evade capture and still try living in this heterotopia, we’re in this place of miserablism as Surreal used to say and at the same time, we’re also living our marvelous selves. Right. And we’re also reproducing, in living our marvelous selves, relationships with other marvelous ones. Right. And I think that’s how we keep that moving. Right.

esperanza spalding: Wow.

kai lumumba barrow: Okay. You like that? You’ve been dropping science though for real now, but I do. I do think that’s part of what we’re all in the work of doing, which is why it’s so amazing to be talking with you all. We just met for the first time so I’m kind of geeked. Like artists, Black? All right then.

X’ene Sky: No, kai, I really like that answer. I think particularly the playfulness, I feel like that’s something I engage in my practice when it comes. But I think for me, how I evade capture is really diving deep into like the mania of my own mind and really facing the darkness in my own body, my own mind and just really staying right there. I think a lot of the work I do is getting uncomfortable with like, “yes, I am ill. I am not well, I’m not comfortable. I am not happy. I am upset. My body cannot hold these emotions. What do I do?”

Yeah. And just staying right there. I think that’s why Nina Simone was so important to me to hear her speak about the ways of “yeah, I’m not well, I’m not happy. I don’t like any of this and that’s okay.” And to end on that note too, right? Because I mean, she did and I feel like that’s important and I feel like that’s a large part of her legacy that’s kind of glossed over, but she wasn’t happy. And that’s okay. It’s okay to sit in those moments.

I think Buddhism is something that’s really become very important to me. And again, this idea of sitting before you even get to the point of like transcending or transmuting. And I think so much of our process is like oh, let’s get to the gratification. Let’s get to the feeling good. Let’s get to the being able to synthesize this. And I think for me, it’s really just “no, sit in the emotion, understand it, feel it.” Really let yourself face yourself and see what comes from that. And that to me feels like okay, if I can handle my own crazy then that’s freedom for me. That’s like saving me.

brontë velez: Can we still hop on this question?

Ra Malika Imhotep: Absolutely.

brontë velez: Okay. Thank y’all for what you shared. I feel so thrilled to be in conversation even though we’re in a line.

Hey, cause I haven’t got to make eye contact with you. Yeah. I’m thinking about these quite literal ways that Black people are captured. I’m thinking about this moment to how I’m learning what evasion of capture might also look like. It’s not going alone and not being alone, both spiritually and physically. We were filming a project called Between Starshine and Clay with my collective Led to Life and we were out in Point Reyes Chimney Rock territory in California. And there was a ceremonial list present to hold this ritual filming and our work where we are transforming guns into ritual objects and tools. And we were working with these materials in the forests and women who were joining us, who had lost their children to police brutality in Stockton, we had just been in a ritual together and collectively of offering this Olympia to a gun that had been donated to us.

And we were in a clearly ritual space and the ritualist, I didn’t know, had to leave early to go pick up her son from Oakland. And so we come out of that space. Everything’s, we’re deeply raw. And we come out of that space. Someone has left early, the ritualist had to go. We are rushing to catch the sunset for the next scene. And while we’re on the route there, one of the brothers who’s a drummer for the film is outside of his car with a Park Ranger and we’re like, “why is he out of his car?” And there’s this moment between the sunset and scarcity and one day and no money to film and all these people, it took so much to get all these Black people to Point Reyes, if you’ve ever been there, there’s no Black people there.

And then to have this moment of stopping, particularly by Denise Friday and Dion Smith who are organizers and also mothers who’ve been impacted to stop us and to stop what was happening. And I had right before that moment, even before I knew what was about to happen, I was having a panic attack coming out of that space. I didn’t even know what was happening. It was just like a spiritual attack and I was wailing and couldn’t catch my breath. And then when I looked up, that’s when I saw that the brother was outside of the car. And I just learned much from that moment about closing and going from one place to the next of ritual, closing of ceiling space, of saying vows of safety with one another, of saying like, I’m not going to let you go alone. We’re going to go together. We’re letting people know where we’re going, both spiritually and physically, just straight up.

But also when we are going to go, when we’re going somewhere spiritually, that we’re letting one another know so that we don’t get taken by something physical, be it the police or be it some demonic forces. I’ve learned when I tried to go, when I’ve tried to go alone to do spiritual encounters or re-encounter like these ideas of spirituality because we’ve been so deeply separated when I’ve gone alone, I’ve been harmed. And just learning about that slowness. Together.

esperanza spalding: That’s amazing.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Both the questions were aligned, I think, in this question of what escapes. The second question has a more like pointed ask around what does it mean or look like to create what they call emancipatory art in corporate environments. No, another thing I learned from Kai is the term art industrial complex but I guess I’m very grateful that you all have joined me here and have come in response the call and have brought your gifts and what all of that means. My brain is fervently searching for a way to close but it doesn’t want to close.

kai lumumba barrow: Well, for me, I don’t know what it’s like to make art in corporate environment. I don’t want to be that rude but all environments are corporate, right? We live in capitalism, right? So there’s always some form of carcerality, right? We went and when we picked sugar cane raw Jazz, me and a couple other people who was that, like recently?

jazz franklin: Yeah. November.

kai lumumba barrow: Yeah. And we did Donaldsonville, Louisiana and there is a lot of plastic plants that are in that environment, which is why this area is known as cancer alley. And the hurricane Ida hit the area really hard. And so now you have people who are dying from cancer, who are fighting to keep living on that land that is theirs originally but has been poisoned by these corporations. And even the sugar cane is obviously less poignant, it’s not as sweet. And so when we go and steal their profits, we feel that’s what it’s like to be working in that space. Not to be a problem but I did have a show recently in New Orleans and we laid dirt all over the floor and scratched up the walls and just reconfigured the space. And so now they had to rebuild the whole floor and there was like, okay, is this being recorded? I saw a worm. I was like, I’m not going to kill it.

So there’re ways I think about our ancestors who worked in the kitchen, who worked in the big house, who were always figuring out ways to subvert and subterfuge the institution that they’re within. And I think that we’re always working in corporate carceral environments. Well, again, at the same time, trying to work in a space that dares ourselves to be. I love what you said, dares ourselves to be closed in by these monsters and allow and we’re seeping out.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Absolutely. Wow. I just feel such deep energy adoration. I feel inspired. I’m so beyond grateful for everything that just opened up. And I’m thankful for folks who came to witness this convergence, which I’m certain in all of my being is not the last. So with that, I just invite us to close this container. I’m just thinking about… Actually brontë, would you dedicate the merits? Thank you.

brontë velez: Well, thank you for organizing this space and convening all of us. And I felt all of you from moments of laughter and applause or furrowed brows or smiles underneath masks. So I’m glad we got to connect in some way. And this practice comes from, to me through Miakoda Taylor from a body of work called Fierce Allies and through Buddhism to dedicate the merits of any joy that came from this time, any liberation that came from this time to send it out for those who are not gathered with us. So if there’s anyone in your heart you might feel would be blessed by this conversation today, who wasn’t here, you can just think of them in your spirit. And if you want to, you could repeat after me, I’ll say the phrase first so you know what we’re going to say. May any positivity generated, be given away to all of life for the sake of freedom. And then I’ll say it again and if you want to repeat, you can. Make any positivity generated, be given away to all of life for the sake of freedom.

brontë velez: Thank you.

Ra Malika Imhotep: Thank you.

[Music: “Silver Lanyard” by Blue Dot Sessions]

Outro: You’ve been listening to Berkeley Talks, a Berkeley News podcast from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Acast or wherever you listen. You can find all of our podcast episodes with transcripts and photos on Berkeley News at news.berkeley.edu/podcasts.

[Music fades]