Science Gallery Detroit started this week under the theme “design in a time of urgency.” My colleague Lyn Goeringer was commissioned for the piece Witnesses.
Questioning the role of visibility in our collective ideas of security and safety, Witnesses contains nine videos of streetlights taken near sites where trans-people of color have been murdered in Detroit, Michigan. This questioning of visibility is crucial in our current social framework, and leaves one asking “What do the streetlights do for us, if our most vulnerable citizens can find no safety under their light?”
In memory of: Ashton O’Hara, Amber Monroe, Paris Cameron, Keanna Matel, Sharita Maxwell, Shelley Hilliard, Coko Williams, unknown, unknown
In the Vimeo version of the piece, you look at the image of streetlights pictured above while listening to the layered recordings from each light’s location. Lots of buzzes, hums, and rumblings of traffic far away from these isolated streets. In the physical installation at Science Gallery, you walk down a small, bending hallway with each streetlight broadcasting its image and sound from a different television screen on each of side of you. Powerful.
Like in this last piece, you’ll see images from many album covers in her work. It looks like she may have cut up the entire Ohio Players discography at some point.
I love this reflection on the break beat from Roger Bonair-Agard in the Breakbeat Poets anthology #1 – revisited this week while writing some intro remarks for a panel at the upcoming Sound Studies, Writing, and Rhetoric conference (which is free!):
To consider the breadth and depth of what the break beat means, and how it can be deconstructed, is to understand first of all what it means to build and compose a music from such corridors of already existing music; what it means to build a completely new sound, a new series of tunnels down the cave to the place where bass lives. To consider the break beat, therefore, is a kind of hajj, a journey that must not be lightly taken. Where the break leads is a treacherous place and desperation has sent its composer there. What she uncovered is sacred for what she has had to endure to get there. What you are witnessing is a religion that might change you forever. Indeed it must.
Reading: Picked back up Behind the Mountains by Edwidge Danticat, which has been sitting around the house for a bit. I’m considering incorporating it into the young adult literature course I’m teaching next semester.
Writing: Finished a draft of the second Black Paper written by the cooperative I’m a member of. This one will address the “node” structure we use to govern ourselves and run the cooperative. It’s a nice, tight system we’ve build to write this paper collaboratively and resist the capitalist impulse of perfection. Get it out! – we tell ourselves. Our first paper that tells our origin story is here if you’d like to read.
Listening: Over and over: Right Where You Are, the new ambient album by Fhloston Paradigm – a King Britt creation. More and more I’m gravitating toward ambient music for my writing sessions.
Teaching: Some introductory culture building, insight surfacing, and set up for the introduction to disciplinary literacy course I’m teaching this semester. Here’s an insight I didn’t expect: some students said they feel more comfortable participating in discussions via zoom since they are at home in their own rooms and apartments.