THE ARTIST IS PRESENT

 

 

 

marina-abramovic

 

 

 

 

I never understood performance art, and that’s just fine because performance art, like other interpretations is subjective. While proving to be critical, effective, and emotional it can evoke emotions that sometimes aren’t suited for public visual. Art can be intense, and will evoke emotions that live deep in our conscious. Whether these emotions are positive or negative, I think it’s fair to mention that these emotions give way to inspire other emotions to showcase themselves.

When I first watched this documentary, I didn’t know what to expect. I mentioned in my other review that I’m not a big film watcher, but I like some of the themes that are covered. I had never heard of Marina Abramovic, or her work. Now, she as someone that I can reference as an artist who wishes to inspire and empower through her work. As a student of The New School, I am thrilled to enjoy new experiences that people bring to my attention. It’s cool to be around young people who are self-aware.

We all have experiences that we feel will define our future, in a negative or positive way. This was Marina’s moment to shine: this was her time to let the world of MOMA and abroad know about her unique talent. Art moves people, moving art is no exception. I think that the film had a clear standpoint of what they wanted to show, how they wanted her art to be represented.

I don’t know how to feel about how extreme her art is, but if her brain wants her to project certain art forms to people who will celebrate it, then I think that’s a big thing. I don’t think that I would have done something for over 730 hours and have people sit in my art. I don’t know how someone would prepare for that, but in retrospect, we all have things that we’ve invested obscene amounts of time in that we often look back and reflect. I would definitely watch this movie again.

REPRESENTATION MATTERS: BLACK LIVES MATTER, AND THE EMERGENCE OF CROWDFUNDING

REPRESENTATION MATTERS: BLACK LIVES MATTER AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CROWD FUNDING SITES

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Television in general has always served as a slanted medium when discussing communities of color, often depicting them as violent, or as slightly older aggressive thugs in comparison to their saintly white “counterparts.” Throughout time, Hollywood and other media outlets haven’t taken the best route in portraying characters of color. We are seeing certain microaggressions being occurred when we see young men of color being depicted as terrorists, thugs, or otherwise. Whether these characters be Black, Latino, Asian or otherwise Hollywood doesn’t seem to understand that representation matters. I need to repeat that again- representation matters. The way that people are represented has an underlying effect as to how these people are portrayed-not only on television screens- but in real time, especially in areas where people who live in a certain area [and historically people from that area never move] aren’t in constant communication with people whom they’ve never met before.

Certain themes that are being represented show a direct narrative that doesn’t necessarily correlate to how those people wish to be seen. When you add the cultural layer on, which should bring people together, but typically adds more friction with people who don’t wish to change; there are a monopoly of problems that need to be identified, solved, and healed.

While there has been representation in Hollywood [over time] it still hasn’t allotted for enough time to allows for artists to explore and experiment their different points of view, and while this may seem sufficient there has been a dominant narrative that surfaces. That dominant does not showcase the diverse nation that America is, and leaves people who belong to other groups feel like they can’t align with certain programming that they would like to. Through this creative genre, there has been an erasure of accurate representation of African Americans and other actors of color. The same Black, Latino, Asian actors get the movie roles. For example, 1930’s actress Anna May Wong was an actress who roles were often fulfilled by stereotypes yet she was someone who didn’t wish to fulfill them.

And that is pathetic, because they do not represent how their culture is, and that burden shouldn’t be placed on them. The dominant group allows which images will be seen, and that isn’t reflective of how people want to be seen. With that erasure comes a lot of ideals that haven’t been spoken about, and with that lack of conversation being produced, it’s an uphill battle for any progress to begin. Without progress, it’s difficult to understand how an ideal future would look like. Ideally, that future would include representation, a ban to all social injustices, and whatever necessary thing that is needed to fill that void.

It is without a doubt that African Americans and people of color have a difficult time getting roles that aren’t the sarcastic best friend, the know it all girlfriend who loves to roll her neck as she explains herself (with an attitude) to her friends or the painfully awkward woman who is often afraid to show how she- as a woman of color can be a part of the dominant culture. Actresses such as Viola Davis, Gabourey Sidibe, and KeKe Palmer are the Black Small Screen Hollywood Darlings while other actresses such as Tessa Thompson, Jurnee Smollet, and Amber Riley are often reduced to roles that do not show the promise they’ve been acclaimed to bring. It’s interesting that when it comes to “minority” actors, they use the same actors over and over. And usually when those actors become type casted, we can only see one side of the African American experience. With newer content such as How To Get Away With Murder, I understand that tackling issues such as race might be daunting to communities that have the privilege of ignoring it, but until it hasn’t been questioned, it will be allowed to thrive.

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The African American experience is alive in will in all of the 106 Historical Black Colleges or Universities, The Divine Nine Organizations, and other illustrious organizations that have allowed black academics and social service to thrive. I feel that there is an attack on identity in this country. It is impossible to have views without seeming racist, radical, or unpopular. I think that supremacy resonates with patriarchy, and although the two are similar, many people feel that that they are not interchangeable. As a student of color in a predominantly white university, I always come to school to not only enlighten, but to give views on the experience that other students do not have to understand. The war on cultural propaganda has adversely affected African Americans and communities of color by having them portrayed as drug dealers, people who are dependent on governmental assistance, and people who are unable to speak properly. These depictions are seen as the blueprint on how to communicate with people of color, with certain words being emphasized when communicating with black and brown people making it seem that those are the only words that we respond to. As I mentioned in my first paragraph, representation matters. It seems as though members who belong to other cultural communities have allowed other groups- who they largely have no contact with to write their narratives.

Black Lives Matter is an initiative that started by four women by the name of Patrisse Collors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi. The group was started after George Zimmerman was acquittal on all charges of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old teenager. This movement is prevalent in our society, and in a global village sense as well. During the onset of the course, we had a task where we had to complie certain images/gifs tht we enjoyed. I gathered those images from Tumblr, because that is a platform that is unattacked by people who gather together in a digital sense. All types of images are sent through that site, and I strongly believe that Tumblr is a big reason why that movement/narrative has stood strong. There are people who want to be a part of certain movements, but they may feel that their daily lives doesn’t  allow them to partake in certain actions.

Last summer, protestors from all over the country met and gathered and they closed down certain bridges. I helped close down the Brooklyn Bride, and I had never seen such an outpouring of support. Although the movement has died down (I believe due to the weather) it has lived in other platforms. Sadly, with the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Rahmarley Graham, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, and more recently Freddie Gray, it seems like the bodies of young black men are currently being used as vessels for police vessels. Although the protests have continued, some may feel like protesting isn’t enough. I feel that economic boycotting is a key to bring awareness to certain causes, but if enough people aren’t participating, it may not be enough. When people feel that their efforts aren’t enough, a lot of people may want to give up. Luckily, there are people who will choose to find other creative ways to incite reason enough to keep going.

Another assignment that we had in this class that spoke to me was the street art assignment. I saw many positive images from neighborhoods that I didn’t necessarly think would have them there. I think that artistic intent may be a reason why that was done. If certain people who aren’t exposed to certain atrocities, they may believe that it doesn’t exist. Perception is reality for a lot of people, and if their reality is void of people that don’t take up space in their world, then they may believe that it doesn’t happen. I choose to believe that ignorance isn’t bliss all of the time.

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Another aspect of representation, and black lives mattering that I am proud of is GoFundMe. GoFundMe is a crowdfunding website that allows people to donate money to different causes that they feel an attachment to. This fundraising technique has been crucial to the movement. It has allowed people who may not have a close connection (as far as distance is concerned) to make sure that someone has the support they need. Most recently, The mother of Tamir Rice hset up an account. She didn’t want to live across the street from where her son was gunned down and was now homeless as a result. When social media websites got wind of what was going on, they contributed money so that she could find a new living space. Another aspect is a complany called “HelpOrHush” and they take donations from peoplee and they purchase supplies for people who are in the same area. They have committed to live in the areas where the protests are One current reason is crowdfunding. The emergence of GoFundMe as a platform to gather funds to those in needs has been crucial to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Of the processes have included dehumanizing Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and making their entire supporters look like uninformed vigilantes who have their own motive. Why is it that FOX News and other conservative outlets practically defended Ethan Couch, a teenager who was involved in a multi vehicular homicide that resulted in the deaths of four people, Recently conservative commentator Bill O’ Reilly gave a stirring speech in which he said that Eric Garner did not deserve what happened to him.

Although he is conservative public figure, I do not think that his rare outpour of emotion is enough to turn the tide in what seems like a never-ending saga of black and brown people being dehumanized by their detractors, even in death.

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RACE MATTERS

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Beyond iCelebs

Prof. Sweeney

Sean Thompson

RACE MATTERS

This school has awakened certain social justice processes that I’ve never thought about before. It has shown me that although people may look like you, they may not be able to share those same experiences as you. Although people in society are separated by degrees of separation, allowing our selves to be separated causes greater risk than reward. This book has allowed me to see that conversation isn’t enough. Their needs to be concentrated action that permeates through different societal levels that allows for people to have equal, non-biased protection under the law. Cornel West is someone that has become a master of conversations about race, and his commentary is usually sought after.

This book has heavy content material and I felt that I couldn’t grasp its true intent on the first try. I wasn’t intimidated on the first try, unlike the language that one would find from an article on The New York Times. While attending this school, I find myself wanting to be a part of conversations that involve gender, sexuality, race, and politics. I went from binge watching reality TV, to watching CNN and BBC news outlets. This book has heavy content material and I felt that I couldn’t grasp on the first read. The language didn’t intimidate me, but it was hard to understand certain viewpoints, especially if I haven’t been in that situation before. I started having conscious viewpoints early in my college career, and wanting to be a part of those conversations has intensified over the semesters.

He discusses the events that happened after the riots that happened in Los Angeles, he often uses a tone that is mixed with certain spiritual lens. The spiritual realm is something that has great presence over the lives of many African-Americans and is something that they respond to. I don’t know if it comes from the times of slavery, when those in turmoil had no choice but to believe in something that could release them from those emotional, mental restraints that they were confined to. These situations are often topic of great debates between supporters and dissenters. His ability to tie in societal events that have positively and negatively impacted generations of African Americans make the point drive home.

Although African-Americans have been oppressed for centuries, there are groups of people within black people that continue to face adversity if they don’t conform to norms that have been laid out for them. It feels like if they “follow the script” they won’t have it as hard, but wanting to be you has more of a risk involved that can often times prove to be deadly. When a bunch of political systems are involved, it’s hard to overcome those obstacles and become the person that you wish to be. Gender Identity, Mental Health, Poverty, Lack of educational resources have proved to be areas that most communities of color wish to not discuss, for fear of “not working hard enough” or otherwise. The African-American experience has transcended how people view African-Americans from cultural, media, and social standpoints. Without proper media representation, it’s difficult to be seen differently, and when American neighborhoods are hyper segregated, a snapshot view of someone is all they need to (unfairly) formulate their opinions.

There have been a myriad of events that have shaped the African-American experience in the Americas since the advent of slavery. Throughout this time, their resilient nature to adapt through the times of slavery, reconstruction, convict-leasing system and more have allowed them to think logically when overcoming obstacles. All of these political systems have allowed these communities of people to continue to be on the receiving end of criticisms that they haven’t been able to recover from.

To this modern day, there are still constructed systems that will not allow these communities to thrive. Without that resilient nature, it’s been difficult to see those moments through. With the assistance of the Divine Nine, NAACP, National Urban League there have been elevated systems that African- Americans have been able to take advantage of. While Cornell discusses this in the chapter three “The Crisis Of Black Leadership” he fails to mention one thing: throughout times of hardship, although race was an issue, blacks have fought for the equality of others.

Although relationships with African-Americans and other races have faltered over time, that hasn’t stopped for constant progression in the community. While taking a broad approach and encompassing a vast variety of topics that affect large (sometimes disproportionate) groups of people, it is without the fight that black people have continued to allow for greater reform in this country. Although at times roads haven’t been paved, and when the odds are stacked against you, it is easy to remember that you cannot let things you can’t control, control you.

WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS

I’m not a big film viewer, so this assignment caught me by surprise. I’m taking a film class this semester, and I’ve been watching documentaries for the past eleven weeks. Although I’ve seen a bunch of films that cover diverse issues from North Korean refugees who illegally live in China due to famine, and sex trafficking in Thailand. I’m slightly familiar with the Wikileaks scandal, so I wanted to focus on something that I didn’t have a unified opinion on. I was drawn to the topic of espionage, and a “Robin Hood” mentality of distributing secrets to share with the masses. Although lots of events occur in spaces that we would never be able to witness (or give opinion on) it’s fascinating.

Some of the content felt eerily similar to what FOX anchors would announce, but I felt that the content was something that I haven’t seen or heard of before. There are people who live in this world who are always trying to conjure up some conspiracy theory as to why certain events occur, but seeing people who have special access to these events tell on the powers that be is something that could never be shown on a major broadcasting network.

There are different events that occur which needed special media attention, and that’s always a valid point, but to see people risk their livelihoods, lack of future sanity, health, and overall well being is something that I don’t think I would be able to do. We live in a desensitized American society where secrets and cover-ups are things that we expect. We look forward to people lying to us, and (literally) watching over us, because there is a lingering narrative that says that authority like figures are not to be trusted. If we were to use a remote and rewind some 50 years ago this would have been a different narrative, with different responses. Americans back then didn’t think that their government would ever lie, or keep secrets from them.

If this had happened in 1955, we would all feel pretty lousy.

It’s crazy what events can do to narratives.

Your opinions can become pretty baseless depending on its context, and that can be a pretty hard pill to swallow.

It’s interesting to note that in this movie, there is a lot of insight to things that should have never been publicly known. There are people who are ‘pro- Assange’ and that may not be a bad thing, and there are people who want integrity to remain intact- and that’s not a bad thing either.

This was part of the largest breach of US intelligence ever, and regardless of which political system you subscribe to, it’s fairly easy to understand that integrity, and truth are two essential items for an active, ‘positive’ society, but when it has been compromise, those same two ideals are easily distorted. When something is distorted, it may still live in its original condition somewhere else, but when it has been tampered, it can be hard to figure out why it couldn’t exist as is in the first place.

STREET ART

For this post, I’ve curated a bunch of street art that I found on the streets of Crown Heights that lead up to the Brooklyn Museum, on tree lined blocks that call Bedford-Stuyvesant home, and in dark blocks that K-Town natives will instantly recognize. Street Art is something that gives hope to passerby’s; unknown language that allows similar thoughts to be recognized, celebrated, and achieved. Some of these images are representations of ideologies that live in these respective environments, and I think that if shown on a broader scale, will show that regardless of where you live, or how you live, representation matters. If you look at certain television channels and are ashamed, or feel poorly of how you are being represented, draw your representation on the street and DEMAND that your presence be known.

There are so many sidewalks on the streets of New York, and most of them are longer than others, so we have no problem being seen!

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This photo was taken in Bed-Stuy and the contrast caught my eye. The background isn’t “beautiful” but the art work on the bench reminds people that looks aren’t everything. CHARACTER COUNTS.

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Honest words.

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CELEBRITY DO GOODER- J.COLE

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One of my favorite celebrity do gooders is someone that I met, and I thought he had an attitude problem (or a bad day) or both. His name is J.Cole, and he’s a rapper who is often mentioned in the same breath as Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Wale. He doesn’t have a lot of  commercial appeal, but he has a loyal fanbase who support many of his efforts.
During the recent Ferguson protests, he dropped by (unannounced) and appeared to show his support for the cause.
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J.Cole in front of spot where Michael Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson. Wilson was not acquitted on any of the charges.
He also, released a new initiative in which he is going to provide housing for single mothers. His newest album is titled “2014 Forest Hills Drive” and that address also serves as the one of his childhood home. He is going to rent that home out to single mothers for free.
Every two years a family is going to live in that house for free, and they’re going to start their lives.
In a entertainment industry filled with people trying to do things to get noticed, it’s quite refreshing to see someone thrive under low key circumstances, on their terms!
Here is a video of J.Cole talking about his recent Ferguson appearance.