Humanist and activist Ruddy Roye, displayed his series of images “When Living is a Protest” at the Steven Kasher gallery. His images deliver the oppression faced by racial minorities in society. Specifically, he focuses on African Americans. Each image is followed by a recount of his encounter with the person in the image. Before reading the story, the image is open to interpretation. This gives the image a powerful voice. One image in particular portrayed an African American man in front of a wall with the American flag. However, there are no white stripes or stars on the flag. This could mean that African Americans are underrepresented in society and until this day, they face discrimination. The man tilts his head and looks up at the sky, which gives a pondering feeling and sympathy.
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Was this cafeteria always so loud and annoying? Ugh I think I have a headache
The endless chatter is a repeat of meaningless gossip I’m so tired of hearing
It’s not that I look down on these things, it’s just-
I don’t know, upsetting when too many people act so fake when they don’t have to
We’re all trying to fit in and get by but in the meantime it’s like our individuality is draining
I guess that’s the student life though
But aren’t you frustrated when you do the same thing every day?
Y’know Shakespeare said, “all the world’s a stage.”
And that’s got me thinking that we’re nothing more than what we perform.
Camus said we are all The Stranger
And that’s got me thinking that complacency isn’t the answer.
It’s so easy to assume that everything happens for a reason!
I sometimes wish I still believed that
So I could nod along and stick to the norm
Yet I adore the absurdity I reside in
Aren’t you tired of this provincial life?
It’s dumb but like Ariel and Belle, I’m looking for more
I dream to create my own destiny, ‘cause as Coelho made clear,
It’s not the journey that matters and resonates with the universe,
Not the end point
If you want something enough, the universe will help you get it.
I want it.
I want to appreciate the life I live because I am doing more than getting by
I want to laugh because I know crazy things will happen
Without an explanation or a reason why
This constant fog of superficiality suffocates me, but I laugh humorlessly
Because I am the same
Hypocrisy at its finest I suppose because of course I have smiled when I didn’t want to
Of course I nodded along as if I understood something ridiculously absurd
I’m just as bad as everyone else ya know
But maybe recognizing that is the first step to doing something about it
Maybe I can create my own meaning so that I won’t miss out on so much
Don’t you think it’s time that we step in Vonnegut’s direction and
Stop conforming to societal rules? Stop looking for reasons why in every little thing?
But rather create it, whatever that may be,
Whatever gives you a sense of purpose,
Whatever resonates with you and the universe,
The Pipilotti Rist exhibit at the New Museum is made up of a variety of different large- scale video installations. All were non-conventional projections of film, some on the ceiling, some being on the wall or in secluded boxes. Many of the installations had places where you could sit comfortably either on the floor with pillows or on beds. The comfortable setting invites you to spend long periods watching the videos which is necessary to gain an understanding of what they are really about. Many of the pieces seem to have a deeper meaning that could only be recognized through watching them repeatedly because they have no dialogue or storyline like traditional films. Instead, the projections show organic scenes from Nature and some have a cast of seemingly random characters. For example, one of the pieces projected onto the corner of a room features an upper class white woman with expensive attire skipping along a road with a large stick of plant matter, smashing all the windows of the parked cars along the street. Upon coming across a police officer both smile at each other and continue onward. You can tell the cars are of poor quality suggesting that the setting is in a poor neighborhood. This represents how the upper class can destroy the lower class without any repercussions.
In comparison “Pixel Forest” isn’t an actual video but is a whole gallery installation saturated with l.e.d bulbs with changing colors hanging from the ceiling on strings. When you enter the darkened room, you are immediately surrounded by the changing lights as you walk into the space. The warm glowing lights give a feeling of wonder and excitement, like seeing holiday decorations. When the lights were blue it felt as if you were at the bottom of the ocean and when they became red and orange you felt as if you were looking up at a giant jellyfish, seeing all of its tendrils hanging down glowing in the blackness of the ocean.
I highly recommend this exhibition to anyone with an explorative nature because “Pixel Forest” is open to many personal interpretations.
In a mixture of culture and artistic elements, Derrick Adams’ solo exhibition “On”, located at Pioneer Works in Red Hook through July 17th, captures both the struggle and the beauty of black people. The exhibit is held in a few rooms filled with extremely colorful TV screens of collages of distinctive cloths and other mixed media. This motif of television screens runs throughout the entire exhibit, but each room focuses on a different aspect of African-American culture. Some rooms include pictures of African-American celebrities and their encounters with each other. Another room is occupied by stands with ethnically styled wigs over light bulbs. Pioneer Works has a welcoming, vibrant feel to it with its high-ceilings and rather dim lighting. The photos encapsulate the past relationship between black culture and the majority-white entertainment industry by reminding those who attend of the prominent stereotypes against black people seen in the media every day. Adams takes a turn in direction as the next couple of rooms depict a completely new image of black culture; a culture independent from the stereotypes against it in the entertainment industry.
In Adams’s work I saw a clear division between reality and the world of media. I felt as comfortable in the setting as I felt enlightened. Without words, Adams was able to convey an obvious message that needed to be addressed, especially in a time in which racial issues are setting themselves out in a new and ongoing movement. I would definitely recommend “On” to anyone interested in experiencing a twist on challenging racial ignorance in an artistic manner.