Martine Syms, The African Desperate

Martine Syms, The African Desperate

What are you afraid of?

Martine Syms, The African Desperate

Admission starts at $5

March 21, 2023, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Tuesday, March 21 at 7pm for a screening of Martine Syms’s The African Desperate (2022, 97 minutes). This screening constitutes the final event in the three-part What are you afraid of?, curated by Daniella Brito and taking place at e-flux Screening Room In February and March 2023. Read more on the series here

Syms’ first feature-length film presents a hypnotic, trance-induced sequence of occurrences that begin with the protagonist’s defense of her MFA thesis at a liberal arts college. From uncomfortable microaggressive comments, to racially coded sexual encounters, to hazy, drug-induced paranoia, the film is laden with satirical, nightmarish scenes that trail the life of a Black femme in the art world.

Martine Syms, The African Desperate (2022, 97 minutes)
Bridging the worlds of contemporary art and film, Martine Syms follows 24 introspective yet wild hours in the life of Palace, a visual artist finding her way just after graduating from a predominantly white MFA program in upstate New York. This autobiographical story, starring Diamond Stingily and inspired by Syms’s time at Bard College, satirizes the racism of the art world, tracing reactions to Palace’s inclusion in the Venice Biennale and her very presence. Part comedy, part hallucinatory fever dream, part jaded rom-com, this extraordinary and singular debut is marked by Syms’s celebrated command of the artistic conversation. Its extravagant visual style and bold editing redefine what’s possible on the big screen—seeding even more for Syms to pioneer in her landmark, multidisciplinary body of work.

For more information, contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.            
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.            
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Education, Contemporary Art
Racism, Blackness, Humor & Comedy
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What are you afraid of?

Martine Syms (b. 1988) is an American artist based in Los Angeles who works in publishing, video, installation, and performance. Her work focuses on identity and the portrayal of the self in relation to feminism and Black culture.

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