To live in the United States of America today is to experience significant anxiety about the status quo as well as cognitive dissonance (a sense of existing in an alternate reality). Because of disconnects between the facts presented by politicians, the corporate media complex and the veracities of the people, there is an intense compulsion to penetrate the national narrative with a metaphorical letter out.
There are many sources of national anxiety in America, but the current disturbance to the national equilibrium was exacerbated by the election of the country’s first Black President. The imminent election of the first woman as 44th President of the United States of America has pushed the nation to a precipice. There are co-existing, partisan desires for and fears that her election will permanently rupture what was the natural order.
A LETTER OUT
There are 44 works representing that number of the great transition between the 43rd and 44th United States president. The impetus to mail the 44 works directly to the platform is in effect the making of a document, transforming the works as art to the work as journalistic documents.
In effect the collection is being (wiki) leaked or released to the public through non-traditional, back road channel. The overarching effort is a multifaceted political protest poem against silence – being silenced myself.
The works will be oversized postcards mailed unprotected and whatever damage that accrues is aesthetically desirable component of the project. A byproduct of the difficult journey. The Dirty Poem for presentation will have all unbound pages weathered and soiled aesthetically here and then posted in the mail. For installation, the 100+ pages will be tacked on the wall to form the backdrop of the grid of 44 postcards.
The entire presentation on the wall will be offered as a one of a kind collectable statement of protest. All individual works utilized by the protest piece are also available in editions of 3 at stated edition sizing.
The book, Dirty Poem, will be issued as an edition of 10 and 1 copy would be made available as part of the one of a kind protest collection mailed out. The idea is that these protest collections could then be shipped 9 other times for staging around the world. The 44 works were selected from a larger body of work that is ongoing with just over 200 works currently.
The project, “A Letter Out,” was first inspired by a conversation I had with Kenyan Nobel Prize nominated author and poet Ngugi wa Thiong’o, who, during a long period of imprisonment for his writing managed to continue publishing his books that were written on toilet paper and smuggled out of prison. Then a period of 6 weeks of documentary filming with peace activists on both sides of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict in and around Jerusalem during the occupation of 2014 solidified the vision. I have made every effort to draw on art historical perspectives subversively and subtly, utilizing direct quotation only when it emboldens critique. The scope of the visual work is drawn from the book Dirty Poem. The visual works presented offer a direct dialogue with the written component.