Arthur Jafa (b. 1960)
Dreams are Colder than Death (2014)
Arthur Jafa’s critically acclaimed experimental documentary Dreams are Colder than Death (2014) lyrically reflects on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and contemporary black experiences in the United States. The film layers and weaves together a range of imagery with narrations from artistic and intellectual visionaries such as filmmaker Charles Burnett; poet, critic, and theorist Fred Moten; artists Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker; and scholars Saidiya Hartman and Hortense Spillers. Initially made to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, Dreams asks what it means to be black in this country today. As Jafa stated about this work, “It was always about creating a platform for black folks—as I say, uncommon black folks—and for specialists to voice their feelings about where they were but ostensibly where we are, collectively.”