Languid Hands is a partnership consisting of Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson. Their curatorial practice is a generative politics of labour and care. Languid Hands use our access, skills and resources to support black artists and create opportunities for them to showcase their work. Languid Hands’ approach is always influenced by a black and queer radical politics, by the liberatory motives of all those artists, curators and activists that have come before us and who make up our communities. Languid Hands’ practice is a survival practice, looking always to lay more groundwork for those who will come afterwards. We leave blueprints made by languid hands. Absent is the disproportionate emphasis on surface-level survey style programmes and representational focus: when we gather, we do so to manifest collaboration, exchange, dialogue, relationships – a sum greater than its individual parts.

Languid Hands’ logo is an abstraction of the routes of the Middle Passage (the routes through which African peoples, and the commodities pillaged from them or produced by them) were shipped as cargo between Europe, The Americas and Africa. Languid Hands’ work is tethered to the Middle Passage as an experience, an ontological and historical break; it is a foundation for much of their curatorial and political intentions. The Middle Passage is the symbiotic currents of history and present, personal and distinct, occurring precisely at the same time.

 

The name Languid Hands comes from a paragraph on page 102 of Caribbean-Canadian writer Dionne Brand’s A Map To The Door of No Return. It is an acknowledgment that we have bodies, that our hands are in labour; languid hands. It is an invitation to rest, to touch, to hold. It is responsibility and possibility and despondency. It is gratitude for the work that these hands do: soft hard dyke black languid hands.

Languid Hands have been taking their time to re-think and restructure their programme No Real Closure which was due to start at Cubitt in April. They decided not to rush into remote programming at this difficult time but they did want to share some of the ideas that are going into planning their programme.

No Real Closure, will demonstrate their intentional commitment to working primarily with black artists, especially those who identify as queer or trans, whose work is often overlooked, misunderstood, or undermined. Black artists deserve such a dedication in the context of a UK art world that assumes Black art as monolithic and limited in its scope and breadth. Absent is the disproportionate emphasis on surface-level survey style programmes and representational focus: gathering to manifest collaboration, exchange, dialogue, relationships – a sum greater than its individual parts.

Languid Hands were unable to open their inaugural exhibition, Towards a Black Testimony, in April. As an alternative, they are working on a publication that will feature works from the artists commissioned for the show, Barby Asante, Rebecca Bellantoni, Christopher Kirubi, Derica Shields and Mayfly, as well as new commissions, and reflections on the previous iterations of the project. More soon on that, for now, you can grab a copy of 'Objects Who Testify', an essay pamphlet by Languid Hands' Imani Robinson, published by @pssss.co, that explores the theoretical basis of the project. 

Buy Objects Who Testify here

Towards a Black Testimony is an ongoing project that brings together artists, writers and organisers to explore the im/possibility of Black testimony using their film Towards a Black Testimony: Prayer/Protest/Peace [commissioned by @JerwoodArts] as a call and response. This model was showcased at @Stroom_Den_Haag in October 2019 in a weekend of programming with performances from Black Quantum Futurism, Zinzi Minott, Shenece Oretha and Rebecca Bellantoni, and in an evening of readings at Jerwood Arts with responses from Chloe Filani, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Christopher Kirubi and Derica Shields.

The Experimenta Debate: Representation and Praxis (Part One) BFI

"How do we deal with the realities of anti-black violence through the audio-visual, without pandering to the desire for spectacle? How do we reckon with the violence done to us outside of the white gaze that seems to relish in our recollections of it? How do we resist the observation of our mourning and our organising, the “visual appetite for violence” as Rooney Elmi has described it? How do we honour those lost, the ancestors and the ghosts, always remembering how and why we lost them, without being repeatedly tormented?"
In the midst of a pandemic, police and extrajudicial violence against Black people continues - and not just in the USA. In their ongoing film and installation project 'where did we land', Languid Hands' Rabz Lansiquot interrogates our collective relationship to imaging violence and its impacts, intended or otherwise. 
 
You can revisit their talk on violence and representation at 2018's London Film Festival Experimental Debate on Youtube with an introduction and Q&A with curator Taylor Le Melle.