Rising is a visual media project (photography and film) that utilizes both film and photography in order to encourage authentic self-expression from its participants and for those who view it. Evoking themes of marronage and afro-futurism, the project aims to challenge dehumanizing depictions of black and brown people by creating images of classmates that feel authentic to who they are in their truest form.
Shadows of Tomorrow is a magazine that captures and engages with spirituality and the role of the space and habit in processes of healing. It surveys multiple sites of ritual, looking at the local A.M.E. Zion Church in Middletown, Santeria, and herbalism as opportunities for spiritual resistance and practices engaging with the self and memory, grappling with a larger practices of intergenerational and collective haunting. The project excavates hope, healing, rememory, and community in light of death, using creative vignettes, photography, and spatial mapping.
Ransom Notes consists of a series of subversive counter-narratives crafted out of selectively redacted, edited and remixed official texts produced by people and institutions of racial power, inspired by Christina Sharpe’s work on Black annotation and redaction. Through mimicry, fictionalization, and truncation, ransom notes neutralize the threat produced by dominant texts and deconstruct the ideologies and archives that establish and reproduce dominant narratives about black death.
What did the TSA find in Solange’s Fro? is an original comic book incorporating elements of surrealism, afrofuturism, horror and humor to show the absurdity of the surveillance state. The comedic dialogue was inspired by the scholarship of Simone Brown in Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness as well as Solange’s personal experiences with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The characters within the comic are able to escape interrogations by the TSA as they combat racial and gender obsessions that become attached to black female bodies.
Phoenix Federation Radio is an ambient soundscape that uses techniques of re-memory and re-mix to pay tribute to black peoples’ use of music, poetry, sound, cry, and silence as political and survival tools. Using a technique we call subversive sampling, we have created an aural experience that challenges the listeners sensibilities by moving through the stations broadcast from imagined futures and revised pasts.
Illustrations by Ernesto Cuevas, Jr. The Black Phoenix Rising project has been supported through funding from the Wesleyan Center for the Arts’ Creative Campus Cross-disciplinary Collaboration. These resources were used to commission the artistic skill and community pedagogy of San Antonio based multimedia artist, Mr. Ernesto Cuevas, Jr., who produced a series of inspired illustrations that exemplified our projects’ core themes and aspirations. We are proud to feature his work in this installation.
Replanting Resistance is a set of Phoenix sculptures made from locally collected and compostable branches, leaves, and seeds. As the seasons change, the Phoenix decomposes. Flower seeds are embedded into each phoenix, so as it decomposes, it simultaneously “resurrects,” as the seeds fall into the soil and blossom into renewed life. The project rejects the environmental racisms perpetuated by capitalism by existing as living sculpture. In building a synergy between the elements and spatiality, the project houses a space of resistance grounded in the earth.