2024 Theorist in Residence Denise Ferreira da Silva’s Public Programs at CalArts and REDCAT

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Artist and writer Denise Ferreira da Silva, the Samuel Rudin Professor in the Humanities at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures at New York University, visits CalArts this week as the 2024 Theorist in Residence. Organized by the MA Aesthetics and Politics Program in the School of Critical Studies, the Theorist in Residence initiative invites theorists focusing on media, urban, or global studies to spend up to two weeks at CalArts, teaching workshops, meeting with students and faculty, and giving public lectures.

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, Ferreira da Silva presents a public lecture, A Story of Us: Attention, Reflection, and Extraction in Tales of the End(s) of the Human, at CalArts’ Langley Hall. The talk focuses on the “ethical and aesthetical dimensions of electronically mediated existence, which seems fully permeated by and thoroughly configured through the apparatus that enables global capital to profit from the extraction of attention.” She’ll use the prism of episodes from the acclaimed British dystopian series Black Mirror to show how “raciality facilitates capital accumulation both economically and ethically.”

On Saturday, Jan. 20, audiences are invited to REDCAT for a screening of Soot Breath / Corpus Infinitum, Ferreira da Silva’s third collaboration with filmmaker and CalArts alum Arjuna Neuman (Film/Video MFA 11).


Interrogating empathy and violence, the film traces the transformations enacted on the natural world in the modern period, wherein living and non-living things have been treated as a standing reserve from which to extract resources. The element of Earth is central as the camera moves from significant places in the biographies of the artists from Brazil to Indonesia, to major infrastructure that disintegrates in particles of soot.

The screening is followed by a conversation with both artists moderated by Janet Sarbanes, acting director, CalArts MA Aesthetics and Politics.

Ferreira da Silva’s artistic and academic work reflects and speculates on questions crucial to contemporary philosophy, political theory, Black thought, feminist thought, and historical materialism. Her published books include Unpayable Debt (2022), Dívida Impagável (2019), and Toward a Global Idea of Race (2007). Artworks include the films Serpent Rain (2016), 4 Waters: Deep Implicancy (2018), and the aforementioned Soot Breath / Corpus Infinitum (2020), Ancestral Claims/Ancestral Clouds (2023) with Arjuna Neuman, and Poethical Readings and Sensing Salon with Valentina Desideri.

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PUBLISHED BY Christine N. Ziemba

Christine is the director of Content at CalArts, responsible for the Institute's editorial in both print and online platforms. In addition, she oversees CalArts' social media accounts. In her spare time, she writes about the Santa Clarita food scene at scvfoodie.com.

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