We are pleased to announce the inclusion of Rashaad Newsome’s Shade Compositions performance video at the inaugural exhibition of The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Shade Compositions is a live performance featuring a a chorus of more than 25 Black women combining improvisatory orchestral music and live video-mixing. Rashaad divided the performers into groups akin to instrumental sections as they enact his choreographed sound score made up of repeated sequences of culturally specific or stereotypical gestures, movements, and vocalizations. During the performance, he acts as the Conductor simultaneously recording, looping, editing, and remixing in real-time the audio and video documentation of the performers using a hacked Nintendo® Wii™ game controller. The resulting layers of real and projected imagery investigate assumptions and constructions of identity in mainstream media and popular culture.
Text by Eyebeam
More info about the NMAAHC:
THE SMITHSONIAN’S National Museum of African American History and Culture opens on Sept. 24 in Washington after a long journey. Thirteen years since Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction, the 400,000-square-foot building stands on a five-acre site on the National Mall, close to the Washington Monument. President Obama will speak at its opening dedication.
Appropriately for a public museum at the heart of Washington’s cultural landscape, the museum’s creators did not want to build a space for a black audience alone, but for all Americans. In the spirit of Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too,” their message is a powerful declaration: The African-American story is an American story, as central to the country’s narrative as any other, and understanding black history and culture is essential to understanding American history and culture.
The museum says the building’s three-tiered shape evokes a traditional Yoruban crown. The exterior corona is made of 3,600 bronze-colored cast-aluminum panels. The distinctive architecture alternatively symbolizes hands lifted in prayer, in what the museum says is an expression of faith, hope and resilience.
Text from The New York Times