Kameelah Janan Rasheed
in the coherence,
Ladi’Sasha Jones: There is something for me, between the index and the diagonal, that I am really excited about. In particular, those ways your work evoke wayfinding, both textually and spatially, as a directional force.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed: The index itself is essential, but sometimes the content of the index is less important. I am interested in the directional gesture to look over there. (1) The small black mark on the wall is both the small black mark and the reminder that there is more. (2) I feel some conflict with the notion of the index as something that is fully transparent, available, accessible, and extractable (3). I like the idea of an index that refuses on either end: that which is being pointed at and that which does the pointing are opaque (4). In some ways, I feel like my installations start in the middle of a sentence – the middle of an idea – (5). I think the viewer can either look back to find the beginning of the sentence or look forward to figure out how to end the sentence (6). Maybe it is like walking into the middle of a conversation and you’re trying to reorient yourself. You can choose to reorient yourself and find a center and then go from there, or you can wade in the disorientation. I am interested in the concept of walking into something that is in the process of being constructed versus walking into a finished thing. I think that I’ve been trying to get my head around the concept of a finished thing (7).
- 1. The index reminds us to vary our attention economy – that the thing that draws us elsewhere can be a protagonist and occupy a role of importance.
- 2. And sometimes that more is not yet legible or knowable – sometimes, the index is just the start of a relationship between ideas. At times, I am pointing to say not this, but that even as the that is coming into focus.
- 3. The index as a discoverability tool makes me wonder what can and cannot be findable.
- 4. From Summer 2023 writing: Something about my middle name, Janan, which hid itself from me; which hides itself from itself. It reminds me of the beauty in obscurity, illegibility, and not knowing. Honestly, I do not want to know anything, and my work is not about knowing things; it is more about encountering, contacting, and grazing the edge of something. I hold so much more as much is unveiled and shared in my practice. I hold back out of protection and out of impossibility. Not everything can be rendered or concretized in forms for this material world. Some knowledge can only be carried in the body and can never be translated into writing or projected onto objects. My opacity is not performative; it is a response to the literal limitations of this plane. I share what I can. What I can’t, I hold in my heart, in my astral studio (my lucid dreams); I hold in the membrane separating this from that. The work that goes into the world is a response to data storage. When I need to empty my cache, that is when the work finds its way into material form. Otherwise, it bumps around in my little kinetic brain in wait for more opportunities to play with other sensory experiences.
It seems essential to mention that what is not shared publicly is also not shared because I must hold something for myself always. I must always hold something that only I can return to. Something for myself.
- 5. The installations start in the middle of a sentence because I entered this world in the middle of a sentence. Since then, my existence has been exploring the structure of that sentence (and the possibilities of shifting the structure of that sentence).
- 6. I am curious about multi-directional sentences. Maybe this is an OuLiPo game or something related to braiding/unbraiding.
- 7. See the annotated reading list.