Studio Visit

12–2am / Oct 4 / Elebash Hall

A Lynching Suite

M. Lamar

critical response

Hershini Young

Photo by M. Lamar & Stivan Widick

A Lynching Suite

A Lynching Suite is a symphonic horror dirge for male soprano and synthetic strings. It is the first known composition of classical music devoted to the legacy of lynching in the United States. Guided by the visionary work of black liberation theologian James Cone, the Suite is a liturgical cycle of dirges. Musically, the Suite draws from the structures and colors of the Negro Spiritual and symphonic black metal. Its libretto unearths and airs the cannibalistic ritual and psychosexual biopolitical dimensions of lynching, exploring the inescapable implications of the castrations, dismemberments, and trophy-collecting that were a recurring feature. The libretto also explores resurrection, overcoming, and Armageddon.

M. Lamar is a composer who works across opera, metal, performance, video, sculpture, and installation to craft sprawling narratives of radical becomings. Lamar holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and attended the Yale School of Art, sculpture program, before dropping out to pursue music. Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at The Cloisters at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Funkhaus Berlin Germany, Kunstgebäude Stuttgart, The Meet Factory in Prague, National Sawdust, The Kitchen, MoMa PS1’s Greater New York, and Merkin Hall.

Insta: @lamar_m_lamar

Critical Respondent

Hershini Young is a professor in African and African diaspora studies at UT Austin and affiliated with the John L. Warfield Center for African and African Studies. Her last book Illegible Will: Coercive Spectacles of Labor in South Africa and the Diaspora (Duke University Press) tries to imagine the will of women missing from the archive through reading records for moments of embodied ghostly legibility. Her current project focuses on what she terms “differential embodiment,” alternate ways of living and moving in one’s body such as crawling, falling, floating and enacting animality. She is also finishing a creative, hybrid genre work that brings together the erotic and trauma.

IG: @shiniyvng


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