"[Kahlil] Joseph's BLKNWS, 2019, is hypnotic and exhilarating in its omnivorous exuberance, covering everything from climate change to Canadian police de-escalation training to archival footage of poet June Jordan reciting 'Song of the Law Abiding Citizen,' interrupted with slogans like INTELLECTUAL ENERGY and DECONSTRUCTING EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHIES. Updated throughout the show to include recent news items, the two-channel work allows the sound of one screen to infect and inflect the second. This is disruptive montage in the best avant-garde tradition."
— Claire Bishop, "In The Bland Scheme of Things," review of the 58th Venice Biennale ("May You Live in Interesting Times"), Artforum, September 2019.
BLKNWS defies an easy categorization. Is it an art piece, a media company, a dissident pirate broadcast, a video mixtape, a brand, or what? The continually evolving work by the artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph has, thus far, only manifested itself IRL: as newsreels prior to summertime film screenings at The Underground Museum and as an install within their bookshop, as an exhibition at the Cantor Arts Center on Stanford University's campus, as a selection to the 2019 Venice Biennale, and as part of an arts festival in Washington, D.C., with large-scale installations staged inside a gutted market warehouse and the lobby of the Eaton Hotel and, radically enough, mounted on a wall at Lee's Barbershop, a Black-owned establishment in the city's Southeast District.
Over the course of the last two years, I’ve had the fortune of being drafted into a dynamic ensemble cast — that at various times has included Amandla Stenberg, Helen Molesworth, Alzo Slade, Hassan Rahim, Sheba Anyanwu, Parallax Post, Darol Olu Kae, Kya Lou, Steven Traylor, and Commonwealth Projects (to name just a few!) — for the realization of Joseph’s expansive BLKNWS project.
Having a direct engagement with the trove of source material that comprises BLKNWS, while also finding myself in conversation and collaboration with such a brilliant group of people, has provided both an intellectual and a spiritual charge at pivotal times since 2017 — an energizing of the mind and soul during each production.