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Drexel Hosts Revival! a Virtual Celebration for Collective Joy and Resilience

September 17, 2020

Revival! an audio-visual meditation

Part dance party, part live video art performance, Revival! an audio-visual meditation event will be streamed on the Twitch channel of Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. The event will stream for free and is presented in tandem with the gallery’s partners, the Westphal College Diversity Equity & Inclusion Council, Art & Art History Department, Urban Strategy Graduate Program, Retail & Merchandising Graduate Program and BlackStar Film Festival.

Revival! is a celebration of the visual and sonic frequencies that are contained within and spill out of Black ecstatic experiences. Using two turntables and a mixer, Philadelphia-based artist Rashid Zakat will live-edit an archive of personal and public films, found footage and animation to produce a spontaneous and thoughtful audio-visual narrative. These images and sounds mix and multiply to tell textured stories of African cultural retention, the relationship between survival and faith, and the collective creative strategies of adaption, joy and mutual aid embedded in Black life and history in the Americas. 

Revival! is an attempt to reimagine and practice what collective joy and resilience looks like in times of crisis. Subtly drawing upon José Esteban Muñoz’s notion of ecstasy as “an invitation, a call to a then-and-there, a not-yet-here... a collective potentiality,” Revival! treats ecstasy not only as a corrective balm to injury but a world-making claim to the right of life, imagination, and joyful expression — an especially critical response to our current moment. 

The event offers the opportunity to step out of the here-and-now and virtually tap into what is not-yet-here. Using aural- and image-based motifs from the African diaspora the artist reverberates the intimacies and pleasures of shared spiritual experiences from across time and place. 

Zakat is a filmmaker and artist based in Philadelphia. He uses video, photography, design, audio and the web to encourage people to find as much beauty, joy and wonder as possible. Professionally Rashid has a 15-year-long career as a director and cinematographer for non-fiction, experimental films and music videos. He has done work for India.Arie, Carmelo Anthony, Black Thought, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, BlackStar Film Festival, Soul Train, Topic, WHYY, Philadelphia Contemporary, Mural Arts, Rashaad Newsome & BET to name a few. His personal work includes a short documentary, iPhone and traditional portrait projects, visual mixtapes, digital publications, video installations, open mics & dance parties that experiment with visuals.

“Right now is a critically important time to be celebrating Black lives and Black voices,” said Leah Appleton, events director of Westphal College’s newly founded Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council and gallery exhibitions coordinator for the Pearlstein Gallery. “It is all too often that Black bodies are depicted in positions of trauma, violence or poverty. It’s very important to acknowledge and address the injustices facing the Black community, but joy is political, too, and using art to create joy by, about and for Black people is a beautiful thing.” 

To RSVP for Revival!, click here and for more information, click here.