Frequências: Interventions by Janaína Oliveira, Yasmina Price, and Cauleen Smith

Apr 1, 2023

01:00 PM - 02:15 PM

FilmScene (Chauncey), Theater 2

404 East College Street, Iowa City, IA 52240

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This event is part of the 2023 Obermann Humanities Symposium, Frequências: Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Cinema & the Black Diaspora.

Janaína Oliveira will present "Frequencies of Kalunga." 
Kalunga: a concept originating from Bantu cultures with multiple meanings. For some, the line that marks the limits between the worlds of the living and the ancestors, the line of the horizon and of saudade (longing), which divides but also aggregates. It can also be a portal or the core of the vital energy of change, the "force in motion,” to quote the Brazilian musician and scholar Tiganá Santana. In this intervention, Oliveira will bring together artistic expressions and reflections in the search for ways to think with cinema about relations between the black diasporas and the African continent.

Calling on Toto Bissainthe and Nina Simone, Yasmina Price will present a reflection on Utopian Cinema and the Haitian Revolution, through the errancies of black aesthetics, memorywork and the short film Vole, vole tristesse (2016) by Miryam Charles. 

Cauleen Smith will curate an audio experience for listeners. 


Janaína Oliveira is a curator and researcher who holds a doctorate in history and was a Fulbright scholar at the Center for African Studies at Howard University (USA). She is one of the founders of FICINE—Fórum Itinerante de Cinema Negro. Her research focuses on Black Brazilian and aphrodiasporic cinemas and also on African cinematographies. She has served as a consultant to the United Nations and the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. She has worked as a programmer and consultant for several festivals worldwide. In 2018, in partnership with Tessa Boerman and Peter Van Hoof, she programmed the 28-film program ‘Soul in the Eye: Zózimo Bulbul’s legacy and the contemporary emergence of black Brazilian Cinema’ at the 48th edition of the Rotterdam International Festival (IFFR). In 2019, she collaborated on the Black Light Retrospective exhibition at the 72nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival. She served as the programmer for the 66th Flaherty Film Seminar. 

Yasmina Price is a writer, programmer, and PhD candidate in the departments of African American Studies and Film and Media Studies at Yale University. She focuses on anticolonial cinema from the Global South and the work of visual artists across the African continent and diaspora, with a particular interest in the experimental work of women filmmakers. Yasmina’s LACMA program “Wayward Waters: Black Cinema and The Atlantic” screened as part of the Pan African Film & Arts Festival, 2023. Recent writing has appeared in Africa Is A Country, Screen Slate, Criterion’s Current, and Film Quarterly.

Cauleen Smith, a filmmaker and multimedia artist, describes her work as a reflection on “the everyday possibilities of the imagination.” Smith’s work explores social, cultural, intellectual, artistic, and political liberation in order to conjure what she has called “a cornucopia of future histories.” Operating in multiple materials and arenas, Smith roots her work firmly within the discourse of mid-20th-century experimental film. Her images incorporate science fiction, the Black diaspora, and the lyrical potential of landscape. Her work also explores site-specificity and engages in social activism.

She has had solo exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, MASS MoCA, LACMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, Institute for Contemporary Art Pennsylvania, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and a two person exhibition with Theaster Gates at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Smith’s films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, Prospect 4 New Orleans, Studio Museum Harlem, the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the New Museum in New York, and BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK. 

Smith is the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Heinz Award for the Arts, the United States Artists Award, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize from the Studio Museum in Harlem, the inaugural Ellsworth Kelly Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, the Herb Alpert Award for Film/Video, Rockefeller Media Arts Award, Creative Capital Film/Video, Chicago 3Arts Grant, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Artadia, a Rauschenberg Residency, and Smith was an artist in residence at Artpace. 

Smith was born in Riverside, California, and grew up in Sacramento. She holds a bachelor’s in creative arts from San Francisco State University and an MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. She first gained national attention with her feature-length film Drylongso (1998), which she completed during her graduate studies at UCLA. Smith has also been a visiting artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a faculty member of California Institute of the Arts and the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-residency MFA program.

Free and open to all. 

Major sponsorship comes from the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, UI International Programs, the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization, and the Office of the Vice President for Research Arts and Humanities Initiative Program. Generous supporters include FilmScene, the UI Stanley Museum of Art, the UI Department of Cinematic Arts, and the UI Department of Spanish & Portuguese.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at