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New Media Poetics during Long-Crises: Racial Capitalism, the Economics of Print, and Why Poets Need the Web

Ama Bemma Adwetewa-Badu

Pages 209 - 225



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This paper focuses on the new media poetics of Mendi + Keith Obadike, particularly “Blackness for Sale” (2001) and “Keeping Up Appearances” (2001). Through their use of technology to examine pressing social and political concerns, they engage with and attempt to correct what I call “long-crises,” which is the long-lasting interrelation of capitalism and the racial orders through which Black populations endure racial capitalism over various periods. I argue that Mendi + Keith Obadike’s work acts as a corrective to racial capital in two ways. First, they utilize digital media as opposed to print culture in order to utilize digital aesthetics interventions and practices. These digital modalities partially lie beyond the mechanisms of print culture industries and markets that regulate speech and racialized projects. Second, by juxtaposing Black experiences and Black life alongside the tropes and silences historically ascribed onto Black people, they are able to contend with and offer a corrective to the ready-made perceptions of Black life.

Key Words: new media; racial capitalism; poetry; digital poetics; new media art

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