Originality and Invention | Vision & Justice || Radcliffe Institute

Originality and Invention | Vision & Justice || Radcliffe Institute


In thinking about this convening, I realized
that we couldn’t have a discussion about the topic of art and justice without you, Carrie,
and without you, David. And because we don’t have all the time that
we’d love, I think we said at the start we’re going to dive right in and think through the
function of how it is that we create space and institutions as a builder, yes, but as
an artist who was interrogating them. And I wanted to ask you, Carrie, a question
first. And I think it’s one that’s on David’s mind,
as well. How do you go from– or what’s the impetus
to, as an artist initially focusing on photography, arrive at a point where buildings– the Guggenheim,
the Louvre– become your raw materials for your work? – Do you have the slides, actually? You can start at any time. – Yeah. Oh, yeah. – Great. – But let’s see. – Yeah. Because they’ve actually become a reference,
I think, for the audience. This is an interesting thing. I mean, I’m thinking about– first of all,
welcome to the coming out party. This young woman, I have known for a very
long time, since she started at MoMA. And I have watched her grow and mature and
become her own very, very, very, very special person in this wonderful way. I thought I saw something shooting across
the sky. I thought, ah, that’s a star. [LAUGHTER]
– Carrie. – So we are at your coming out party. We salute you. [APPLAUSE]
Well done. – Too sweet. – Social justice, of course, is trending at
the moment, which I find wonderful and problematic. Hi, Skip. [LAUGHTER]
And the people that I know, the people that I care about, my community, the community
that I’ve grown up in, we’ve been working tirelessly towards and around notions of social
justice for decades. For decades. When I got my first camera, it was from my
boyfriend, who was awful. He was a terrible person. But he gave me a camera. It was the best thing about him. And I knew immediately, really– I knew immediately
that it was something that I wanted to use as a kind of expressive tool to get at some
of the things that concerned me, that I thought were so fundamental about who we are beyond
blackness, beyond color, but as complicated, difficult, complex bodies of humanness. Really, trying to understand something about
that and about how to express that immediately in photography. As I thought about that, I think, also, as
a young child, I think I was very fortunate to have such a wonderful father, a wonderful
father, who, very early on in my life, insisted– as a young child, I remember him picking me
up, saying, never forget that you have a right, that you have a right and that you’re human
and that you have a right to be. That was powerful. And it’s, I think, a lesson that has permeated,
I think, every aspect of my life. I am therefore comfortable in the world, and
I’m comfortable in this complex skin. So I started very early, Sarah, thinking about
these ideas. – And then moved them into a realm that is
David’s, right? Thinking about institutions, how did you start
to move into that space and thinking about taking over an institution or using it as
a backdrop to make a statement? – Well, interestingly enough, David, when
I was in my early 20s or so, I started paying attention to buildings. And it’s like this sort of new architecture. It’s like a new architecture that was sort
of emerging where all buildings– they were all sort of glass, dark glass, and they sort
of insisted that it reflected you, right? I mean, it was like a strategy around architecture. And I thought, this is really interesting. But I didn’t know that I was interested in
architecture. I was just sort of paying attention to what
these buildings were doing and how I was made to feel in relationship to the architecture,
not unlike being a student at Berkeley and walking on that campus and feeling like the
architecture had a certain kind of power that insisted that I respond to it as a subject,
right? And then it let me know whether or not I was
actually invited in or out of it by its very structure. I thought that was so fascinating, the way
I was made to feel walking into a building, walking down a promenade, walking up a flight
of stairs, all of that. Walking into that great library down the road
that your great-great-great-uncle had something to do with. I mean, all of that was sort of really interesting
to me. So these ideas about looking at that and then
paying attention to notions about institutions and what institutions were, how institutions
functioned, the power of institutions, also became sort of a natural kind of curiosity. I thought, ah, I think I’m going to go stand
in front of those things. I think I’ll go witness them, stand in front
of them and sort of not just confront them, so much, but use my skin, use my body, as
a way of marking what they have historically been– what was inside of them, what was outside
of them, what needed to change in relationship to them, what needed to be developed inside
of them. So these ideas about sort of institution building,
as well, were, I think, very early, early thoughts. And so I’ve struggled hard and worked hard
to get inside of them, to critique them, to understand them, to understand my body in
relationship to them, but also to understand something about the power of these institutions
and what they are and what they exude by their very architecture. And that’s where David comes in. – Mm-hmm. – No, absolutely. I mean, Carrie, I remember when I first saw
your images. And they affirmed to me the absence that I
was always very sad by of the black body in spaces and institutional sort of buildings
or in architecture in the urban world that kind of had the sort of dignity and the confidence
of belonging. And I mean, my sort of trajectory into wanting
to work in the built environment came from that sense of being in London and growing
up with my youngest brother, who was disabled, and being an immigrant in the country and
being invisible in that context, but also having a disabled brother and having that
second invisibility of disability. This is the late ’70s and ’80s. And it was a kind of horror I couldn’t spin
out of. – So you came to architecture very early,
then, as well. – Yeah. In its emotion. – Mm-hmm. – And so, in a way, this idea of feeling that
one had a right to exist– I love what you just said about your father. I’ve got to do that with my kids, a thing
to go home and do immediately– was a kind of very powerful driver. And it was just not willing to believe that
one couldn’t be part of the construction of this or the disruption and the kind of changing
of this to be a little bit messier. Because actually, the narrative of architecture,
ironically, is a very strong but silent story maker that is the stage in which we all perform
in. And what we don’t realize is that that stage
actually choreographs how we behave. – Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And so when you came to architecture, your
very particular way of marking a building and sort of using a kind of skin and scrim
on buildings is also, then, related to this idea of making place in a very particular
kind of way that moved it outside of– even though you’re working within a Western tradition,
of reflecting something away from its Western madeness. Is that right? – Well, I think that I became very interested
in the idea of technologies and culture. And what has been conflated– I mean, I think
architecture is one of the last disciplines that hasn’t had this kind of post-structuralist
moment of crashing that pyramidal narrative of some sense of things being just that way. So the classical language, or the sort of
neo-Greek classical language that just becomes northern European and American sort of language,
has not been questioned as a narrative of what it means to be a citizen and what that
idea embodies. It has been in its universal sense, but it
was kind of born under an idea of a certain kind of nationalism. It was about a civilization and the emergence
of that civilization. And it’s a very beautiful language, and its
roots come from Egypt. So it is a language that comes through and
refines and shifts. But in a way, I think what architecture has
been very problematic in doing is that it started to kind of systematize it as a system
for everyone. And in sort of migrating across through empires
and colonization through this system, it’s started to subjugate everybody under the same
structure. And I think the cracks of it and the fractures
of it, you see in the various mutations that are all over the place but, I think, actually
underlie a kind of systematic problem of this idea of trying to universalize everybody under
a singular architecture born from a specific narrative. – So then in this sort of work– and I actually
photographed the Smithsonian Museum, because of course I needed to stand in front of it,
too, and inside of it, and I haven’t done that yet. I photographed the outside, but I haven’t
photographed my body in relationship to it. So that’s my next project when I get to DC. But you did make these sort of disruptions
then. And that was a part of your thinking. – The early work was about that. – And also, in that city of Washington, DC,
right, this added layer of framing. It’s like reframing the frame of the building. – Can you do for us a bit of a dive in terms
of what Carrie’s describing? What intervention do you see is there in the
topography of the Mall, right? Let’s go into the design. – No, I mean, I think the Mall is quintessentially
the play– it’s almost the perfect set of this idea of this universalizing architecture
that becomes the dominant form. And I think that if you look at the history
of it, right from the building of the White House to Congress, et cetera, the monuments,
Lincoln’s monuments, the early works, right through to the American Museum, which is an
abstraction, but it’s exactly the same language. Some people don’t realize it. It’s basically abstracted, plastered neoclassical
architecture made in a modern form. There is a singular language continually moving
along. And it just became very clear to me that if
we were going to make this museum– and it’s interesting that the earlier ideas of a kind
of National Museum of African-Americans used a sort of Egypto style when it was being imagined
200 years ago. It was referring to this sort of thing. I felt that it needed to finally break the
picture. The project had to break the picture. Yeah. – Right. And it does. – Absolutely, absolutely. – Very well. – But not in any way to kind of destroy something. – No, no, no. – But to complicate something. – Yes. Yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s the thing that’s sort of interesting
that gets back to something that Sarah had been talking about earlier, the ideas about
the nature of invention. Dealing with what we’re dealing with, these
complicated ideas around race, around colonialism, around empire, all of these very dense, complicated
ideas, how do you then, in the moment of making– in the moment of, rather, the consideration
of making– begin to understand what your sites of disruption are, what your critical
inquiry is, and then how to manifest that into the work itself and hopefully beg the
question from the audience that this is not only what you see? But it’s also more than that, and it’s also
a critique of the thing that you’re seeing and the thing that we’ve understood from the
past. And that, I think, is really exciting, how
that gets done. And it’s something that I’m endlessly thinking
about. It’s something that, again, Sarah and I have
often talked about, as well, and with you, as well, David. These ideas about a kind of modernism as it
relates to black cultural production has really not been spelled out in any sort of sophisticated
way. Though the work is there, right? – Correct. – The work is there. And the work is there in a beautiful, incredible,
articulated form. But nobody has been really sort of writing
about it, which is why I’m so excited about the work that you’ve been doing. – Oh, you’re so sweet. This is a conversation that we’ve been having
for a while. The way in which a discussion about race can
cauterize a focus on the imaginative work, the original work, of an artist is to the
detriment of the entire field. In the opening to the edited anthology that’s
about to come out on your work, which is coming out in the spring, you have this question
that Huey Copeland posed, right? Huey Copeland, who’s here as Du Bois fellow
for the year. – Oh, Huey is here? – I hope he is here. Yes. Huey asked this question. Oh, you found him? OK. Have we all been sleeping on Carrie Mae Weems,
right? – Yes. [LAUGHTER]
– Not anymore. – Exactly. Exactly. And the answer is, well, we haven’t. But why have we? And why have we? Because of the need to focus on race to the
detriment of not considering the formal inventions that are their own interventions, that are
their own statements, right? – Yes, absolutely. It’s the easy stuff to do. – Exactly. – It’s the easy stuff to do, and it’s the
most expected thing to do. I mean, it’s so complicated, because in part,
it’s the reason that we’re all here. – Exactly. – So we’re here critiquing the thing that
we’re also critiquing, right? – Exactly, exactly. – And so it becomes sort of compounded. I’m so not interested, really, in me. But I am deeply interested and deeply engaged
with my field. I’m deeply engaged with my field. I care about it. And my only deep interest is in participating
in it in a deep and complex way, of engaging the subjects of art and photography in deep
and complex ways, of bringing together extraordinary artists and thinkers and writers and historians
in order to think about it, and, of course, in asking the sort of critical questions that
will move us from the deadlock into a dynamic future, right? What are the questions that we are posing
that need to be posed in relationship to this cultural production? What are the terms? Who are the writers? Who are the historians? Who are the makers? And how is that being understood? And how do we use these sort of extraordinary
institutions and these brilliant young minds and students to really interrogate in a new
way, to really broaden and expand this field? There is no doubt in my mind that we are in
an extraordinary moment of renaissance, of breaking new ground and new territory. There are things that are going on in this
world that are absolutely mind boggling, from robotics to technology. I mean, we’re just in this amazing period. And yet we’re still talking about race. Right? While the rest of the world is– hello, Florence–
forging into this extraordinary future, we are still down here in the mud, grappling
around this question of race. That’s where we have been that we can be stuck. So how do we move this forward and into the
future in a way that I think is really dynamic? And I think that the work that I’m thinking
about, the work that I make, the work that I assume that David is making, I think, starts
to get at tearing some of this away from the muck and spinning us into a future that is
deep and complex and rewarding and dynamic. And that’s what I’m engaged in. – I’d love to add to that, because it’s really
beautiful that Julian Abele– say hi to Peter for me. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. But actually, Peter talked very much about
his great-grand-uncle when we were working on the project. But what’s beautiful for me was that what
Julian was doing was affirming that the language that was supposed to be the language of northern
Europeans was a language that could be mastered by anyone and manipulated. And what he did was, even before he was visible,
he’d already demonstrated a complete mastery of a language that he was not supposed to
be privileged to understand. So when I turn up and I’m working, I am assuming
that I don’t even need to demonstrate that. It’s already done. If you don’t know it, that’s your ignorance. I need to move past what that pedestal has
given me, which is to bring my imagination into the world. And that’s, I think, the beauty of the moment. So we are talking about race. But I also think that it’s kind of impossible
not to talk about race. Because in a way, we are talking about race
not in its diminutive or sort of infantilized sense, but we’re talking about race in its
expansive possibility of complexity in the world. – Yes, this is true, too. I mean, I’ve been talking a lot recently about
Louis Armstrong, because I absolutely love him. I love this man. And I’ve been speaking a lot the last few
months around notions of influence, notions of influence, and how influence operates. And you talked about this idea about language,
and I thought about hip hop and what hip hop is, this idea that people bereaved of language,
right, would go on to develop and create and master a kind of language and to use it under
a sort of extraordinary pressure that would generate something that was so magnificent
that it would change the way in which language is spoken around the world. I mean, it’s sort of an extraordinary idea,
right? And the same thing is true with Armstrong. I mean, this man from Louisiana who creates
this extraordinary sound– there’s absolutely nothing like Louis Armstrong playing the trumpet
or clarinet, right– working under extraordinary pressure who produces this thing that is unmatched
in the world. Or somebody like Aretha, right, our queen,
who died, who received her PhD, her honorary degree, from Harvard several years ago, who,
again, simply soars, right, above all other voices in her giving back to a community and
a group and a society and a culture, a country, that ultimately attempted to deny her that
right. And so what you do, then, out of that denial
is to create extraordinary interventions and innovations that have relevance for not only
you, but the entire world. And you bring new utterance that simply would
not have existed without it. – So what I so love about you bringing up
Armstrong is it also goes back to a point that David made that you’re making, as well,
which is that the demonstration of mastery of a particular form can be an act of resistance
and can be a mode of justice making. So for example– and I don’t know if you heard
earlier, but I was speaking about this event, this convening, as one that is in lineage
with the work that has gone on before. Now, that includes the extraordinary convenings
that you’ve put on. And this also includes the work that Deborah
Willis has done, the Black Portraitures. This includes the work that’s happened in
the Cooper Gallery and beyond Hutchins Center. For your convening at the Guggenheim, what
I so love is that you asked me to read a passage about Louis Armstrong that I wrote for The
Rise. And that was this moment in which I learned
of this fact from Wynton Marsalis, that Louis Armstrong had catalyzed the narrative of justice
by simply being the genius figure that he was. And what I mean by that is this. In 1931, there was a young boy going to hear
Louis Armstrong in Austin, Texas. And he was in a period of deep segregation,
of course, at the time but was so struck by the genius of Armstrong that he knew in that
moment that segregation must be wrong. He just knew it. And even though his friend to his left, he
remembers, uttered a racial epithet about African-Americans used during the day, this
young man, Charles Black, Jr., was sure. Now, Charles Black, Jr., said in that moment
that his life shifted. He started walking towards justice. He would go on to become one of the lawyers
that would argue in the Supreme Court case, Brown versus Board of Education, that outlawed
segregation. – Lovely. – And then he taught at Yale and Columbia. For those who don’t know– I know Carrie knows–
he taught every year with this Armstrong listening night to honor the man who created this life-changing
shift. – That’s lovely. – So Armstrong is doing the very work that
David describes that, as he walks in, he’s aware that he’s performing, as well. It’s a statement through mastery of resistance
and justice. And this is what your work performs, as well,
for us. – Thanks. – Yeah. The reason for focusing on originality and
invention as the title for this panel is deliberately to be able to salute the work that we don’t
often get to discuss because we focus on race. However, I just want to go back to a point
that Jelani Cobb made on his panel that citizenship is a racial narrative, right? And this, I believe, is in part why the entanglement
that Saidiya Hartman is describing, that Elsa Hardy was referencing, this kind of entanglement
in the conceptual sense, I think, is important for us to put back on the table. Is it possible to move away from race as part
of a cultural narrative here? But to get back to originality and invention,
there’s a question I want to ask David which maybe will connect, also, to Carrie’s work. And that is, David, and I’ve never asked you
this, what is the function of working with artistic practice beyond the field of architecture
that so inspires you? Is there an act of representational justice
in your decision to engage with, say, a Chris Ofili in terms of how their work is presented
on the world stage? Because you often engage with artists in terms
of how their work is presented, and it’s rare, and it’s beautiful. – It seems incredibly obvious to me. But I just have always been in awe of the
visual arts’ ability to simply take the language and shift it. And it sort of has always played, in almost
a Trojan horse sort of manner in the sense that it’s somehow just shifted the language–
took the narratives and then presented a new form. And somehow, because of some ability of art
to be able to spell blind us, have we been able to move the language and create an aesthetics
very quickly. So I was just very jealous. No, I’m being silly. But in a way, I was in awe of that aura. So I wanted to, in a way, activate my own
practice by saying that I’m interested in architecture being part of that aura within
the lens of the black experience. The artists in particular. They’re all very particular artists. – So then this redesign, for instance, for
the Studio Museum– – Studio Museum is a wonderful moment. – Right? I mean, that it holds that. – It’s the Odyssey finishing, right? – Right. – The Studio Museum is the Odyssey. – It’s really, really lovely. It’s really lovely. Very excited. It opens when? – In three years time. Yeah. Blink of an eye in architecture. [LAUGHTER]
– Well, we are also here because of the performance that Carrie will offer us. I know we have a few more minutes for questions. We haven’t opened up for questions from the
audience, but there might be a time to allow for that. Sorry, I’m saying this very slowly so that
you can formulate your question and prepare to come to the center if you have one. Because we will have Carrie perform in a bit. OK. – Well, thank you. Kenyan Adams from the Louis Armstrong House
Museum and Archive. [LAUGHTER]
– Perfect. – So our whole team is here. – The whole Louis Armstrong Museum team. – I love it. – So I have a question about this relationship
between mastery and resistance. And I think we have the benefit of a lot of
really robust reflection since the death of a figure like Armstrong, who died before post-colonial
critique was something that a ninth grader would just render to me in a casual conversation. So much work and thinking has really been
done since then to reflect upon his influence. My question is the degree to which mastery
is held by a community. And when we look at a figure like Armstrong,
how is it that we can understand– David, when you talk about this assumption that something
has been proven, therefore I step into my imaginative construction with a freedom and
a givenness– you see this in Armstrong. But how is it that we can, from this distance,
looking back on it over a century of a legacy that’s so prolific and expansive– how can
we perceive and then draw out and then move forward towards a futurism around the fact
of the bodies and lives represented holding the mastery that makes it even possible such
that a figure like an Armstrong or a Carrie Mae Weems becomes something that is expressed
profusely in communities, understood in communities, that gives values and reflects back to those
communities, into– again, a futurism is what we’re concerned about at our archives– the
futurism of this legacy? Thank you. – Thank you. – That’s beautiful. I can jump in. – Yeah. – I have a hunch that the question– there’s
a wonderful sort of dialectic in this thing of mastery, because mastery renders something
almost seemingly like it’s normal. So I think when somebody masters something,
they bring it into a kind of normality. And it sort of becomes the way in which we
all assume a basis of intelligence and move forward. I think the criticality of our civilization
and the experience of being a human being is that we continually need to master. And there is a requirement in using that as
an intelligence and using that as a way to build upon the foundation of the masters. So I know that you’re sort of wanting to see
if we can kind of re-go– if I understand your question, you are trying to see if we
can go back and see the kind of magnitude of the mastery that Armstrong, for instance,
erupted. Am I sensing what your question is sort of
at the base of? It seems that you seem to want people to be
able to see that and to use that as a basis to understand their history. – I’m also equally concerned that it’s possible
to take up Armstrong and the subject of mastery– – But he is. – –without, at the same time, holding the
community that must have been a part of shaping that mastery and the [INAUDIBLE] its animation
as we move forward with constructions of mastery in relation to [INAUDIBLE]. – It’s a question for seminar. – It is a seminar question. – Yeah, we’re saving that question for seminar. – But context is everything. Context is everything. – We really didn’t plan today to be a seminar. – The legacy, the possibility. I mean, I think that this idea about futurism
is something that we are all tasting, right. We know that we are on the cusp of something
new, and we can feel it. There’s all of this that’s bubbling up. We’re talking, ultimately, about layers of
ideas, and legacy is one of those things. My sense, I’ve only heard a few great musicians
in my life. I’ve heard a lot of music, but I’ve only heard
a little bit of great music in my life. I’ve seen a lot of painting, but I’ve only
seen a few really great paintings in my life. Do you know what I mean? And a part of that has to do, I think, with
that thing that is absolutely elusive that we can’t necessarily– we can’t necessarily
talk about. We can hear. We can feel. We can almost sort of kind of touch. But part of that, I think, is our responsibility
to self, and community, and history, and legacy is to pull that forward, is to move it forward
as we move forward. It’s you simply keep doing the work and allowing
the work to do the work that the work has to do. Right? And part of your responsibility, my sense
of my responsibility, is going back again to what I talked about earlier, is participating
as deeply, and as fully, and as complexly as I possibly can within my field, bringing
it forward and expanding it, and allowing for all the creativity and all the genius
that is there, however that is articulated, to be to be pushed forward to the fullest
extent as possible. – Yeah. – That’s the work. That’s the work. And that’s the work for the future. And that’s the work of our generation. So I’m 66 years old. And a part of me is to make it possible for
you to do your work, and for Sarah to do her work, and for David to do his work. And Skip made it possible for me to do my
work. And Anna Deavere Smith made it possible for
me to do my work. And Deb Willis made it possible for me to
do my work and for Hank to do his work, right? That is a part of what we do as artists, and
thinkers, and creative beings is to give ourselves, of ourselves, to use this bridge called our
back so that we can march forward and do the work that we need to do in the strongest possible,
clearest possible way. [APPLAUSE]
– All right. So we have two– and one is a student of mine–
so we have two last questions. And I’d ask that you frame them as questions. And we’ll ask for both to be stated together,
because we don’t want to– and so, ask that they both be stated together and then we’ll
answer them together. OK. – Thank you. And thank you for a wonderful convening. A lot of tension, and you were speaking very
much about production, on the shifting through production, but then there’s also the question
of reception, right? And I guess I wonder whether your work at
all, or whether you consult at all, information about– I mean, frankly, and shifting the
conversation slightly from art to science or about the possibility and the wisdom of
some of science, neuroscience, what we know about actually what kinds of information does
cause one image to actually resonate and succeed in changing minds in a way another doesn’t,
or I don’t know whether any of that information guides your own practice, I’d just be– and
if so, who informs you that way. Thank you. – Thank you. – Hello. You’ve both talked a lot about inclusion and
exclusion in space. And I’m kind of wondering if you can elaborate
on like architecture and space in general and how that can offer a form of social justice. – That would be interesting to reflect on
[INAUDIBLE] – Yeah, no. I think starting with the last question, I
think that it’s a very subliminal thing, because it really isn’t a sort of– it doesn’t work
in that sort of protest sense. But it’s, I think, this idea that if you feel
included in making the apparatus of the stage, you’re happy to perform. That’s probably the best way I can say it. – Beautifully put. – And so that idea did knowing that you are
part of that construction is what’s critical about inclusion in architecture, in space,
in cities that we’re in. So, that’s probably the best thing I could
say. – On that note, I would like to offer this
as a way to introduce the extraordinary performance. I’m looking forward to having more– I know–
having more time to speak with David Adjaye tomorrow in our morning session in Sanders
with Theaster Gates. Yes
[APPLAUSE] We’re just so excited, we’re going to clap. – Brother T.
– More time tomorrow. But the next performance came about also because
of reflecting on what it means to not feel included in a particular space because of
architecture. Are we being asked to leave? No, I don’t think so. The moment I was standing in the Richmond-based,
at the time American Museum for the Confederacy, now renamed museum, was a time in which I
received a phone call. And I was facing Jefferson Davis’ mansion,
White House for the Confederacy, and I received a phone call that I’ll never forget. And it was really kind of prompted or created
by Adam Weinberg, the Director of the Whitney. He recommended that the director of the Spoleto
Festival contact me to think through how best for an artist to commemorate the lives lost
in the shooting in the Emmanuel Baptist Church by Dylann Roof, the Emanuel nine. What kind of work could possibly be done as
a moment of grace for these lives lost? And it’s not a call I wanted to receive. At the time, I had just started working here
at Harvard. And I believe it’s my first week. And I was in the archives to produce scholarship. And I took the phone call. And I said, well, and I looked across to my
left to the Jefferson Davis Mansion and thought, right, this is part of the work. And on the other end of the line was this
request for me to think for some time about what artist I could possibly consider for
this project. And I said I don’t need any time at all. The artist that you should choose is Carrie
Mae Weems. And this project began this now multivenued
performance, Grace Notes, which became past tense and is a way to consider how art can
function as– and I will not call it social justice, I never do– representational justice
for our field, for our community, and for our world. This convening is deliberately bifurcated
Thursday and Friday and is meant to conclude with Carrie’s performance. In part, because I think we’ll have time because
of the evening to reflect on it. It’s extraordinarily powerful. And you can tell she doesn’t want me to be
genuflecting to her and speaking about how extraordinary she is. But this piece just brought me to my knees
when I saw it for the first time. And for me, it’s an unspeakable privilege
to be able to have you perform a modular component of it for us today. So thank you. – You’re welcome. – Thank you, Carrie. [APPLAUSE]

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