News & Events

Wonderful SMRN Meeting of June 2020

SMRN had another wonderful meeting on June 30 with our members joining including: Steven Baris, Carol Bier, Çigdem Borucu, Juan Castrillón, Millie Chen, Delinda Collier, Nina Czegledy, Gareth Davies, Siying Duan, Azadeh Emadi, Nezih Erdogan, Farshid Kazemi, Lynn Marie Kirby, Laura Marks, Katya Nosyreva, JR Osborn, Sheila Petty, Radek Przedpełski, and Kalpana Subramanian.

We first discussed the promotion plan for SMRN, and decided that rather than advertising, we would disseminate information about our secret society through our own networks. Members present agreed that we don’t want SMRN to grow much more; we just want people to know about us!

Our member Delinda Collier is researching the African influence on 18th century Portuguese culture as an underside to that European enlightenment. She presented her recent work on a video film Sunstone (2018) by Filipa César and Louis Henderson, which is part of her ongoing larger project on African arts and vision as evidence. Delinda is building an alternative history of the lens, as a tool that not only embodies and enables the colonial gaze and the global conquest, but also has a reflective function to project out into space. A shot from the film is a metaphor for her broader project: A shape appears in nature to connect different synapsis or plant fibers, in reference to Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relation. Delinda discovers an apotropaic tendency in Lisbon’s winding streets and in the medicinal packages of healers hunted by the Inquisition, both of which, she argues, have an African origin. Delinda’s presentation aroused enthusiastic discussion on incurving vs. straight line of sight, museum culture and use of evidence, the tension between knowledge and body, among many other thought-provoking issues.