"theory of blackness is theory of the surreal presence" -Fred Moten
In a 2014 interview by Ellen Mara De Wachter for Frieze Magazine Kerry James Marshall stated "I think the primary thing my work does is establish a black presence." This reduction of his work as a mechanism of recognition, was, for me, more a rush of wind than breathed words. It was a call which, itself, was a response. A diagnosis which doubled as a cure. These words got to me, went through me, wrapped around me leaving, etched on my skin, a map which inscribed a very particular way of imagining; of contemplating who, and deeper still where I am as an artist. It gave language to my aspirations and entrenched my investment in building a material black presence
Evil Nigger (Pt. 1,2 & 3)
Art can tell the truth history cannot. Art has the capacity to tap into a deepness that drowns the most eloquent of words in the throat. But truth? Truth is always subjective just like art. A blur. And sometimes a personality comes along that is a living blur, a shadow at night without the presence of street lamps. A silhouette that appears and disappears depending on the mood of the moon. Julius Eastman is a shadow. A shadow insofar as the silhouette is that of a ghost. I've been haunted by Eastman. Jeremy (Toussaint Baptise- my collaborator) has been haunted as well. During a sleepless 24hr performance at JACK in Brooklyn we invited Eastman (his spirit) in and with a gust of wind that smelled of outdoors he took up residence. His presence possessed us and we created a conversational piece with his ghost- Evil Nigger. Since his screams by way of his music wakes us at night and we listen, making sense of the pitch and tone.
"Evil Nigger pt 1, 2 & 3" is a collaborative performance by LaMont Hamilton and Jeremy Toussaint-Baptise. Performed sonically by Toussaint-Baptise and bodily by Hamilton this work is a conversational piece with the work of postminimalist composer Julius Eastman. Eastman's seminal orchestral piece whose provocative title is this performances namesake, Evil Nigger, was originally composed in 1979. Deeply emotional, swelling from an internalized trauma the piece contains a stirring the performance by Hamilton and Toussaint Baptise emotes. Draped in a trance/meditation Evil Nigger pt 1, 2 & 3
Five on the black hand side/
@ The Studio Museum in Harlem
Curated by Amanda Hunt and presented in dialogue with exhibitions at the time A Constellation; Black: Material, Color, Concept and Lorraine O’Grady’s Art Is, the performance of Dapline! at the Studio Museum in Harlem is one that pulls itself apart to come back together again delivering, abstractly, traces of Black expressive culture along the way.
In this iteration of Dapline! the entire museum was activated Throughout the day, performances featured Yaw Agyeman and Jeremy Toussaint-Baptise activating the space sonically (acoustically and electronically respectively), Yon Tande (formally Whitney Hunter) conversational work with Lorraine O'Grady's Art Is exhibit which all culminated in the theatre with an unique excerpt of Dapline!