In Terence's Words...


I would describe what I’m making at present as conditions. I’m trying to make my own escape from the modern world.

I’m trying to escape the modern world with you if you’re the type who understands the modern world as a place predicated on my annihilation.

I’m trying to work out an escape.

My great grandfather’s name was George Epps. He ran South from Alabama in 1840 or so. His work was to escape. I guess by way of description of the escape, I am working on conditions that feel like me and mine are not inside of civil society and the violence it is predicated upon. That escape vibration is demonstrated in how we make the TV series Random Acts of Flyness. The process starts with a long talk with my family - several weeks at least. The condition of being together is the first necessity of any escape; we must plan together. The planning sessions for Random Acts yield a process of showing my subconscious to ourselves through the language of cinema.

I would describe the cinema that comes out of me (and us) as achieving an origin point outside of civil society and the classification of the Human.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dr. Zakiyyah Iman Jackson. I met her recently. She challenged me, and is challenging all of us, to imagine a category of being outside and otherwise from the violence of aspiring to the Human. The subconscious that stares back at me echoes the plan... escape, the Human.

I would describe the first scene in episode 6 of Random Acts as my expression of my imagined state of being or order of beings. It’s our nametag. It’s like what I see when I look in a pond of muddy water and receive the reflection there. I’m really glad cinema is a thing and a material and a language because I don’t speak English really. But I am very interested in continuing to “speak cinema” and centralizing our patois of it. That’s an accurate description. The patois of cinema.

I’d say that what I’m trying to do with my work is remember the cosmologies inside my flesh and their ways of talking to metaphysical beings. The elder I’m most connected with in this project is Malidoma Patrice Somé. My mother gave me his memoir Of Water and the Spirit in which he details his journey back to the initiation that was stolen from him, having been kidnapped by Jesuits at four years old. Because I’m a fifth-generation captive, having been kidnapped many times over, I found, and find, the necessary lessons in locating my own re-initiations.

My project is to re-initiate myself in these ways: Yoruba, Dagarra, ephemera, cinema, flora, fauna, etc.

I took a genetic test and found that I happen to be descended from Yoruba people, and that explains my life long attraction to Ifa’s many cultural expressions—Santería and Candomblé to name a few. I’m within a wave and a community of beings being led back - imagining rituals as our work: imagining rituals as the technology I must learn and as the language through which I can charge the fetish objects/pieces of cinema/experiences channeled through me. This is a process of decolonization and exodus and escape from understandings of art practice that I held dear at some point: understandings of my practice as industry, as production, as product, as portrait, as value, as growth. My aim is to continue this process of decolonization so I can understand myself and what’s channeled through as plural, as liberated, as ephemera, as feeling, as vessel, as portal.

I am creating the above-mentioned conditions with my production collective, The Ummah Chroma. We have initiated and invoked a TV channel called FTV, which is itself a condition of live linear broadcast on which this patois cinema of/through/about the aforementioned ways of being can be, and is, portalled.

Additionally, in collaboration with, around, and through this, I am initiating a ritual piece with the Whitney called 4th Dimension Trigger, 5th Dimension Trauma, which is an opportunity for members of a community to perform a series of initiations to trigger themselves in the fourth dimension in order to open wounds in the 5th dimension (parallel timelines). The people who give themselves to this healing ritual will be given the tools of puppets: both physical puppets (third and fourth dimensional puppets) as well as digital (fifth and sixth dimensional puppets) which they can puppeteer live via motion capture. The somatics of puppets and the questions of agency that puppets and puppeteering practices invite will be the keys to these portals and the unwieldy and transcendent interactions with metaphysical beings we welcome.

I refer to Random Acts as a TV program; information uploaded to pieces of “hardware” (our animal bodies) that instructs (us) on how to behave, interact, etc. This program is an initiation for all who partake to re-engage and re-indigenize ourselves-necessary if I/we aspire to leave the present day apocalypse alive - and no longer human.


One of the two questions we asked candidates was: Tell us anything else you'd like us to know about you and your work and its context which may not be perceptible in your work samples.

Can I start by saying I love this question! I love this question because a lot of really cool stuff is not perceptible to the eye or ear - invisible, inaudible, unknown.

The whole film/video category or concept of a medium which articulates how I participate in the expression of these art pieces is highly uncomfortable for me and conversely - extremely comfortable for me. It’s highly uncomfortable because filmmaking as I’ve experienced it as a politic and mode of production suggests a sectarian division of creative labor that I do not participate in. This discomfort might be obvious given my submission of an album of music. The mode of production is the same to the eye but different in terms of politic and sentiment.

I played lots of instruments on my music album VORTEX and sang on it, but that doesn’t matter as much as how many hours I spent editing waveforms or doing nothing at all while my brother programmed the drums - or the praxis of taking 10 years to make an album while making movies instead and, at the same time, making TV shows - that in reality operate most stridently in a movie theater.

Infinince or Infinity? from the album VORTEX

I’m comfy making these songs that work most stridently when I listen to them looking into the eyes of the people I love and aspire to impress with the way I smell. So the discomfort grows from the experience of this otherwise process where I feel alive and it’s destroying the politic of film/video. It’s the slash. This other-music-river–place and its feel is the destruction of the sectarian modalities of the creative process that the words “film” and “video” assume.

I don’t know how the cinema comes to be and that’s why I’m so comfortable with the film/video patois praxis that I’m within, it’s in that slash - between the medium, on the Ouija board.

I hold the camera a lot. I also feel softer when Shawn or Brad hold the camera and light the scene. I sometimes can’t fathom the blessing of being in their presence. To listen to them talk about light when I’m doing nothing at all - or watching them make other films. Or when I send Jenn a cut and she changes a frame here or there and it pulls me to some uncanny place in my nervous system and I change it back and she changes it back to what she had before and we go back and forth. Anyway, that all still happens between her and me, and I only know how to manage it because of the day before while I was sitting in my room doing nothing while my brother programmed the drums on “Sanity Envy,” and my other brother, two years later, played the piano from chords I wrote 10 years ago.

And I think this all probably happened in George Epps’ mind while he was running from Alabama through Mexico to New Bethel, Texas as he escaped. He couldn't have ran the whole way, and I’m sure he had to sing to himself that he was not crazy for doing what he was doing. It all collapses. It’s all collapsing. Anyway, maybe all of that is invisible: the process, kinks, what it really looks like, and how, for me and mine—for us—the Black beat (meaning like beats like Dilla and Timbaland, etc) cinema, dub-plate, mothership-connected, modern contaminants cast zero. For us, it looks like the mess of being together, and that’s where all the spores sprout caps from under the trees of our togetherness.

In the tradition of the beings I come from, rituals begin with rhythm, and the spells of the rhythms on my first “album” VORTEX are a balancing rod that is designed to stabilize me as I navigate this world and vortex of life on Earth.

It is necessary that I have this tool to balance the bodyspirit I am within between opposing energetic forces that go by many names. Masculine and feminine, right and left, moon and sun, talking and listening, etc. and what have you.

Something else that is invisible are the Black women around me with whom I make all of these things. Nanette and Mishka who produce FTV with the Ummah Chroma, who produce Killing In Thy Name. We don't like the word “produce” because it seems like it’s too close to production and too far from magic-making: pulling off a trick.

Amani who is typing this out right now as it is being spoken because we theorized that the invitation for this text to feel like “something spoken” in a room to another bodyspirit being could feel more vulnerable, intimate, legible, and at the right volume if literally spoken aloud and transcribed directly. Naima who I made Nowhere, Nobody with, who I make Random Acts with. Nuotama whose film Afronauts conjured the cosmology of us people in outer space and all the training that has been necessary: all the suffering our bodies must go through to withstand being so far from our home at present: Earth. My mother who tells the story in Swimming in Your Skin Again of the consciousnesses that have fathomed themselves human at the moment and won't in the near future. My sister Classi. So many…

from "Random Acts of Flyness"
from "Random Acts of Flyness"
from "Random Acts of Flyness"
from "Random Acts of Flyness"
from "Swimming in Your Skin Again"
from "Swimming in Your Skin Again"
from "Swimming in Your Skin Again"
from "Swimming in Your Skin Again"
from "Swimming in Your Skin Again"
Swimming In Your Skin Again
Infinance or Infinity? artwork by Alexa Lim Haas