Conference Reports: Vincente Perez at Silly Media

10 May, 2022

Conference Reports: Vincente Perez at Silly Media

We're thrilled to provide support to our students sharing their research at conferences across the country. Read about Vincente Perez at the University of Chicago's Silly Media conference, where he presented "life is like a party shawty: Teezo Touchdown on Respectability, Quality, and Representation."

The Silly Media 2022 Conference was a hybrid conference that considered the concept of "silliness" and Silly media objects. The conference was hosted by UChicago's Department of Cinema and Media Studies and featured Dr. Racquel Gates who gave the keynote address with a presentation on "Calibrating the Silly". The conference took cues from " Lauren Berlant in proposing “a counterpolitics of the silly object" and asked participants to suspend the real and serious by reexamining the world through an interpretation of "silliness" as a praxis or as a way to review the way power undergirds the structures that deem some media silly and other serious. Some worked directly with silly media objects from viral tiktok trends and tracking Meme circulation through multiple platforms to Pirate shanty songs and rapper personas.

The conference was split into two days full of virtual presentations, panels, and a silly interactive workshop with Zia Anger and a few in person events like a 3-D screening of the film "Final Destination 5". My panel was titled Silliness and the Popular I: Broken Tables, Steamed Hams, Teezo Touchdown, and Emily in Paris and I presented a paper titled “life is like a party shawty: Teezo Touchdown on Respectability, Quality, and Representation”. In this presentation I argue that "silliness" is one of the ways that Black rappers confront antiblack conceptions of reality and high art and that Teezo Touchdown's music and his personas are examples of using silliness as a praxis of turning away from white conceptions of value and towards Blackness, towards a different account of value that has the potential to truly consider Black art outside the confines of respectability, positive representation, and white conceptions of seriousness or value.