Where Do Monuments Go To Die? 

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

2 min 54 secs, 144" x 72"

2020

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

still image of Where Do Monuments Go To Die? installation at Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, November 2020. photo by Reese Bland
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still images of Where Do Monuments Go To Die? installation at Tephra Institute of Contemporary Art, November 2020.

photos by Reese Bland