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Malik Gaines: Star Choir and Other Narratives

October 10, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Orion Series in Fine Arts Lecture-Performance
Star Choir and Other Narratives
Featuring Malik Gaines
Interdisciplinary artist and scholar
Associate Professor, UC San Diego

Malik Gaines is a multifaceted artist and scholar known for his dynamic contributions to the fields of music, performance art, visual culture, and critical theory. With a background deeply rooted in exploring themes of identity and social justice, Gaines brings a unique perspective to the intersection of art and activism, inspiring a new generation of creative thinkers.

In this lecture-performance, Malik Gaines will talk about how his research informs his music compositions and other artistic activities. The talk will focus on his work as solo musician and co-artistic director of The Industry opera company in Los Angeles, along with the recent premiere of his opera, Star Choir, which he composed with Alexandro Segade’s libretto. Star Choir is an opera about future humans who attempt to colonize a distant planet. Through fantasy and critique, it asks urgent questions facing humanity amid our era’s confluence of natural and political crises, evoking scenes of disaster migration, fugitivity, and colonization as they are entwined with our difficult histories and our best visions of a potential future.

Interdisciplinary artist and scholar, Malik Gaines is Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at University of California San Diego. His book, Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (2017) traces a circulation of black political ideas through performances of the sixties and beyond. He is working on a second book dealing with contemporary art and performances that act against the limits of U.S. sovereignty.

Gaines performs and exhibits on his own and in multiple collaborations. Since 2000, he has been a member of the artist trio, My Barbarian. Their work uses musical/theatrical and critical techniques to playfully act out social difficulties. As a solo musician, he sings at the piano, exploring contemporary themes through historic songbooks. Gaines is a co-artistic director of The Industry opera company in Los Angeles. Among other projects, The Industry will present his opera Star Choir, which he composed with Alexandro Segade’s libretto, in fall of 2023 at the Mt. Wilson Observatory northeast of Los Angeles.


October 10, 2023
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


School of Music, University of Victoria
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Phillip T. Young Recital Hall
University of Victoria, MacLaurin Building, B-Wing
Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2 Canada
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