“In the next frame the pickup truck is in motion. Its motion activates its darkness. The pickup truck is a condition of darkness in motion. It makes a dark subject. You mean a black subject. No, a black object.”
from “June 26, 2011 / In Memory of James Craig Anderson” in Citizens: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine.
In the multidisciplinary work Object, Anna Martine Whitehead edits YouTube videos of recent famous black deaths—Eric Garner’s and Michael Brown’s among others—so that the subjects are disappeared from the frame. These new videos provoke a double-take as the viewer tries to make sense of acts of subjection without a black body to subject. Object jumps off from poet Claudia Rankine’s presentation of the death of James Craig Anderson, the tragic transition from a living subject to a black object.
Taking the work a step further, Anna Martine and a small ensemble are building devised choreography, drawing on Gaga and improvisational dance techniques, as well as the Object videos themselves. Wearable and interactive sculptures complete the work, drawing upon black death—something as overwrought as to be commonplace—to examine carceral choreographies and the expansiveness of bodies beyond race, gender, and subjection.
Sponsorship at High Concept Labs will give Anna Martine the studio space to develop the work as well as host a work-in-progress showing and document the final performance. Object will debut at the IN>TIME Performance Festival in Chicago during the winter of 2016.
Since emerging from the woods of Virginia, Anna Martine Whitehead (MFA, California College of the Arts) has been calling down the ghosts of memory. As a choreographer, performer, sound and video-maker, writer, and curator, she has presented work across North America and Europe. These include exhibits at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, CounterPULSE, LA Contemporary Exhibits, Watts Towers Art Center, The Bronx Museum, and the Chicago Cultural Center. She has collaborated on or contributed significantly to projects led by Jefferson Pinder, Violeta Luna and Guillermo Gomez-Pena, taisha paggett, and Keith Hennessy. Anna Martine is a proud recipient of a 2015 Critical Fierceness Grant from Chances Dances, as well as recent residencies with Showbox LA, Djerassi, Art Farm, and AUNTS. She continues to write regularly for Art Practical and SFAQ and will have work published winter 2016 through Oxford University and Thread Makes Blanket Presses. Anna Martine lives in Chicago, where she regularly experiments with quantum free fall and Black folk dances of death.