KAOS Theory

Gibbs Smith

SKU: 8255

$40.00 USD

A brilliant, multi-media work about artist, filmmaker, and community organizer Ben Caldwell.

“Caldwell’s restlessness of spirit is mimicked in the book’s elaborate, frenetic design. It is one of the most beautiful objects I held in my hands this year, a coffee-table book as much as a rigorous monograph, full of archival images, photographs, flyers, and documents telling the story of Caldwell’s life...”—The New Yorker

2023 Finalist for Biography, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards

Finalist, 2023 Golden Poppy Awards, California Independent Booksellers Association

KAOS Theory: The Afrokosmic Ark of Ben Caldwell tells the story of filmmaker, educator and community activist Ben Caldwell and KAOS Network, the media-arts center he founded in Los Angeles’s Leimert Park neighborhood. Through vivid illustrations, archival media, and engaging storytelling, KAOS Theory shows how Ben crafted a life centered around the power of fellowship, community, and the use of art and media as a social force. The text takes a journey through history and time, beginning with Ben’s ancestors in the American southwest, up through Ben’s childhood in New Mexico, his experiences in Vietnam, his work as a filmmaker and pioneer of the L.A. Rebellion Film Movement, and as founder of KAOS Network.

But KAOS Theory is more than just the story of one man’s life. It is a work of art, remembrance, and tribute. Encompassing music, film, art, and performance, KAOS Theory honors the vibrant and influential communities that continue to shape the cultural landscape of Los Angeles, the African Diaspora, and beyond.

Robeson Taj Frazier is an associate professor of communication at USC and director of IDEA (the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg). He is the author of two books, a multimedia/film producer, and has published articles and essays about U.S. Black social movements and political ideologies, globalization, fine arts, popular culture, and U.S.-China relations and cultural contact. Frazier's first book, The East is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination (Duke University Press, 2014), analyzes the political and cultural ties cultivated between China and U.S. Black political movements during the Cold War. His second project, It’s Yours: A Story About Hip Hop and the Internet (2019), is a documentary film that examines how hip-hop artists’ and the broader global hip-hop community’s use of the Internet and digital technologies has revolutionized the music industry and global youth culture.