There’s a Tear in the World: Touch After Finitude
Rizvana Bradley

A body touched, touching, fragile, vulnerable, always changing, fleeing, ungraspable, evanescent under a caress or a blow, a body without a husk, a poor skin stretched over the cave where our shadow floats … (Jean-Luc Nancy) This conference day will focus on the haptic through the resonance of touch. Extending our critical sense of the haptic through attendant, experimental grammars of touch, we confront a set of sometimes unruly and even wild philosophical and artistic imperatives. For the philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, touch marks the limits of how we come to know ourselves both in and beyond our finitude. Touch has enabled us to enrich our techniques of knowing, making possible a rediscovery of the modalities of movement, matter, and sense that comprise our subject and object worlds. Thematically, touch will recur in our discussions of artworks, and in our explorations of the irreducibly textured expressions of performance and social practice. Weaving between image, sound, and the poetic line, the conversations in this conference day will navigate the overlaps and cuts between them. The included readings, performances, and talks will explore diasporic forms of world-making, dynamic philosophies of movement, the violence of cartographic and architectural imaginaries, the material trace of touch in economies of performance, and the haptic violence manifested in history’s archival inscriptions.

Participants Hortense Spillers, Eyal Weizman, Aracelis Girmay, Erin Manning, Ligia Lewis, Wu Tsang, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Rizvana Bradley is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies and African-American Studies at Yale. Bradley was as an Assistant Professor at Emory University, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of the History of Art at the University College London. Born in Kenya, and raised in the U.K., Germany, Poland, Tanzania, and the U.S., Bradley’s research and teaching focus on the study of film and media at the intersections of literature, poetry, contemporary art and performance. Her scholarly approach to artistic practices in the fields of African-American cultural production, as well as the wider black diaspora expands and develops frameworks for thinking across these contexts, specifically in relation to global and transnational artistic and cinematic practices. Bradley is currently at work on two new scholarly book projects. The first is a recipient of a Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and offers a critical examination of the black body across a range of experimental artistic practices that integrate film and other media. Bradley guest edited a special issue of the journal Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory on “The Haptic: Textures of Performance,” and has published articles in TDR: The Drama Review, Discourse: Journal for Theoretical Studies in Media and Culture, Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, Black Camera: An International Film Journal, and Film Quarterly. She was a Helena Rubinstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Her writing has also appeared in Parkett, and Art in America. In London, Bradley curated two international symposia related to the study of Afrodiasporic thought and aesthetics at the (BFI) British Film Institute, and The Serpentine Galleries. (For more information: