Master-Symposium 2024 – Avant-Noir, curating contemporary Black film art and video art

Spring semester 2024

Date and Venue
March 26 – 27, 2024

26 March from 13:30-18:00
27 March from 10:00-12:00 (lunch break) 13:30-17:30

Bern University of the Arts
MA Contemporary Arts Practice
Multifunktionsraum 210
Schwabstrasse 10
3018 Bern

Application deadline: 27th of February 2024


Universität / Haute École
Hochschule der Künste Bern
Greg de Cuir Jr hosted by Raphaël Cuomo and Maria Iorio
Contact email
for student applications
Content description

Avant-Noir, curating contemporary Black film art and video art

This two-day seminar will introduce a curatorial project that prioritises moving image artists who work with the subject of Black culture and ‘the idea of Black film’. From this starting point we will explore contemporary curatorial practice that cuts across disciplines, institutional practice and politics, as well as the recent history of the Black avant-garde in film and video.

The quoted reference to ‘the idea of Black film’ comes from the subtitle of the book Film Blackness (2016) by Michael Boyce Gillespie, which is concerned with challenging traditional notions of Black film aesthetics and politics, as well as arguing for a conceptualisation of Black film as an open and unresolved question, which will be our methodology. Avant-Noir has been presented in various cities and countries, but it was first organised at Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and presented in three successive volumes from 2014-2017. The initial aim was to make an intervention into homogenous curatorial practices around the moving image, but also against conservative and rigid systemic thinking around Black film and video. Following that, in this seminar we will contemplate the potential of curatorial practice as polemic while tracing a general flourishing of Black moving image art since the past decade.

We will start with a consideration of the historical and cultural context that produced this screen series, including the work of independent curators in addition to modes of collaboration with large institutions. We will continue with screenings of some of the works shown in this series, taking time to read their aesthetics and politics, also thinking them in relation to their placement alongside other works in the programs. We will close with speculative conceptualisation for a new chapter of Avant-Noir, paying special attention to how it might exist online and in relation to new technologies while surveying recent presentations of film art and video art on digital platforms.

The detailed programme will be communicated to the participants in early March 2024.

Greg de Cuir Jr
Greg de Cuir Jr is co-founder and artistic director of Kinopravda Institute in Belgrade. Among other projects, he is curating film programs for the Whitney Biennial 2024. He is also editing the first translation of the landmark monograph Constructivism in Film by Vlada Petric (first published by Cambridge University
Press in 1987). De Cuir holds a DPhil from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts at University of Arts Belgrade and a MA from the School of Cinematic Arts at University of Southern California.

Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo
Iorio/Cuomo are two artists and filmmakers. Favouring a collaborative praxis and long-term research, their recent projects engage with past and present global mobilities and unfold the entangled histories shaped by those movements of life, (post)colonial encounters, migrating forms and sounds. Integrating curatorial methodologies in their work, they have created film programmes, cinema situations and exhibitions
that revisit the historiography of the expanded field of moving image practices and “minor cinemas” — experimental, amateur, feminist, decolonial.