Columbia Law Artist Residency 

Work Samples

 

This page includes installation and detail shots from 10 recent works. At the top of the page is a list of the works that follow. Below are the works and descriptions of the work.

 Where Do Monuments Go To Die?, 2020

     1     video tour of video installation

     2    video documentation of the video included in the installation

Noose Nap Flag, 2020

     3   documentation of installation

     4    detail shot / documentation of audience interaction

    

For Whose Sins ?, 2011 - 2018

     5   installation documentation

          detail shot

     6  installation documentation

 

We, Too, Sing America, 2018 - ongoing

     7  panoramic photograph of installation

 

     8  Domestic Work, video documentation of partial installation

     9 photo documentation of audience participation

Were You There?, 2021 - onoging

       video documentation of workshop performance of in progress work

---------------- images and videos below------------------------------------------

1

        

Video tour of Where Do Monuments Go To Die? (2020) video installation at Tephra ICA. Tour includes sculpture Noose Nap Flag (2020)

 

Where Do Monuments Go To Die? 

video projection, compost, hemp rope, sisal rope, black wall

2 min 54 secs, 144" x 72"

2020

In making this video I wanted to arm people, to empower them, to rewrite the script around how we respond to racial terror and the generational trauma that it calls forth.

 

A noose is simply a tool made from a rope. While the noose is a fairly complicated knot to tie. It is a slip knot which means that all one has to do to untie it is pull.

 

This video projection piece Where Do Monuments Go To Die? shows a continuous loop of a noose being untied and retied by my hands. The video, which in actuality shows me creating a noose that is smaller than my thumb, is projected at such a scale that the noose appears to be life sized. The rope that it is made of appears to be the same size as the real ropes that are suspended throughout the installation. My hands appear to be large enough to hold an entire person in my palm.

As viewers watch the video there is.constant tension between what they know -- my hands can't be that large-- and what they feel--that is a noose, a life sized noose.

 

The focus of the video is the process of untying--which consists of simply pulling the slip knot until it undoes itself. This portion of the video is very clear and easy to follow. it is a "how to" in slow motion.

 

The process of tying the noose comes in and out of focus. I am not interested in passing on this information. For most viewers it will be unclear what exactly is being done with the rope until it has been completely tied into a noose. While the noose itself is an instantly recognizable object and symbol of domestic terrorism, mob violence and extrajudicial murder, the process of making one is largely unknown. Or rather it is known only by those who have sought out or been taught this very specific cultural knowledge and skill.

 

This video projection accompanies a soft sculpture that offers viewers the opportunity to put their new found knowledge of how to untie a noose into practice.

2

Video documentation of Where Do Monuments Go To Die? (2020) video installation at Tephra ICA.

Where Do Monuments Go To Die? 

video projection, compost, hemp rope, sisal rope, black wall

2 min 54 secs, 144" x 72"

2020

3

2020.12 Noose Nap Flag- GRAC Documentati

Noose Nap Flag
plywod, sisal twine, hemp twine, staples, cellotape, vinyl text, compost, sisal rope, hemp rope, black wall
8' x 8'
2020
 

Noose Nap Flag is made to accompany and be in direct conversation with Where Do Monuments Go To Die?.

 

The video installation Where Do Monuments Go To Die? teachers the viewer to untie a noose. The sculptural installation Noose Nap Flag explicitly invites viewers to put that knowledge into practice and by doing so become co-authors of the installation.

 

Noose Nap Flag is made of over 7200 miniature nooses, one for every carceral facility-- each prison, jail, detention center, immigration detention center, psych jail, youth detention center, etc--in the United States. In dismantling this flag, noose by noose, viewers are offered an embodied experience of what it eels like to learn new responses to generational trauma, to face fears, find a new way, prepare ground to build a new or tell a new story.

 

They are able to bear witness to how collective possibilities and power can manifest themselves through the simple ritual of intentionally repeating many small acts. This is how systems are maintained and this is how they will be destroyed. This piece is a training ground.

4

2020.12 Noose Nap Flag audience interact

detail shot of audience interaction

Noose Nap Flag

plywod, sisal twine, hemp twine, staples, cellotape, vinyl text, compost, sisal rope, hemp rope, black wall8' x 8'2020

5

12CCE3D1-D0A3-4758-A839-0CF0493FA80B.jpg

Left: documentation of installation from below

Right: detail shot

For Whose Sins?

framing nails, hemp twine, compost

12' x 30'

2011 - 2018

For Whose Sins? is a memorial and monument to the impact of racial terror. The piece consists of 3440+ nooses, one for each Black person recorded to have been lynched between 1888 and 1968. Collected together the nooses illustrate the ways that individual actions amount to systems of violence and generational trauma. 

The title and shape of the piece implicate Christianity and manifest destiny for their role in making martyrs of Black folks and in supporting white supremacist, anti-Black acts of domestic terror. They also speak to Christianity as the place that many Black folks turn to to heal from generational trauma.

 

6

Williams McCallister, O _ For Whose Sins

documentation of installation looking down from near the midpoint of the sculpture

For Whose Sins?

framing nails, hemp twine, compost

12' x 30'

2011 - 2018

7

Omo-SingAmerica-08212.jpg

panoramic still of installation of We, Too, Sing America at Target Gallery.

We, Too, Sing America

indigo, cotton muslin, cotton embroidery floss, beeswax remnants, velcro

60' 

2018 - ongoing

The multi-sensory installation, “We, Too, Sing America”, incudes visual, sound, and interactive elementsas well as a durational performance. The installation is a continuation of the my ongoing fiber-based series Domestic Work, which confronts the extraction of emotional labor, caretaking and other domestic work from Black women that is expected, depended upon, normalized and then erased in public and private spaces.

“We, Too, Sing America is a memorial to the small everyday acts that we have undertaken to support ourselves and each other as we have collectively moved towards building a better future and weathered the storms of COVID, of white supremacist anti-Black terror, of all of the intersecting forms of oppression that we face/d over these past many months. In this work I use accumulation and repetition of ritual acts, art objects, images, and sound to explore the relationship of the individual act, individual person, individual moment to the collective, and to collective world building.

8

video documentation of partial outdoor installation of Domestic Work

Domestic Work

indigo, cotton muslin, cotton embroidery floss, beeswax remnants, 

60' 

2018 - ongoing

This is a small excerpt of the current iteration of my ongoing fiber based piece Domestic Work. Domestic Work began as a three act performance piece that makes legible the ways that the extraction of emotional labor, caretaking and other domestic work from Black women is expected, depended upon, normalized and then erased in public and private spaces. Over the two years that Domestic Work has been in production the piece has evolved to include stories of ways that we care for ourselves and each other to build networks of interdependent relationships.

 

The body of the piece consists of 1440 squares hand embroidered with a description of an everyday act of emotional labor and then dyed to read “for you,” “for me,” or “for us” in white letters on an indigo background. From afar the reader sees only the white supertexts “for you/me/us.” As the reader approaches the piece the subtexts reveal themselves.

 

I gather the stores that are represented in the subtexts by working in public spaces. I embroider on the bus, in meeting, on planes, cars, at the grocery store, during zoom meetings etc. This act of performing handwork in public prompts people to engage me in conversation. During that conversation I introduce the piece to them. I share a personal story that relates to of the piece that I am working on in that moment. Almost every person then offers me a similar story of their own. 

After witnessing their story I invite them to contribute it to the project. We work together to distill it down to a few words. I add their story to my list and eventually it becomes a square.People who encounter the piece when it is installed are also invited to contribute. They can do so through photo testimonies or written testimonies.

 

During installation the Images of people who contributed their stories to the project are incorporated as projections. In each image the participants are portrayed holding a square (either the one that reflects their story or one that resonates with them) over their face. This provides a space for personal testimony to be linked to the actual people; the portraits are specific and universal at the same time.

 

The projections appear in different locations across the surface of the piece. This create a sense of movement in the space, which can make viewers feel as if there are other people in the space with them.

9

Omo-SingAmerica-08245.jpg

Documentation of audience interaction with We, Too, Sing America at Target Gallery

10