ICA Exhibit – Alternative Event

“Free. Free. Freeee…” Is what is playing from 33 television screens as you walk into this exhibit. There were a few other pieces of art in the room as well, but none of the descriptions particularly said who the woman was on the screen. I assume this was done deliberately. The women is standing at the Washington Monument, in front of the Lincoln Memorial statue.

The entire exhibit shows clips of people, black and white, doing and explaining race-related things. For example, there were 4 clips of the same white man having conversations with himself on the topic of race from a white man’s point of view. The clips repeat themselves within the sequence of the clip, so you can grasp that the conversation is an ongoing, never-ending conversation. In one of the clips he repeats, ” Someone has to step up and lead. Tell me about it. I’m so angry. Me too.  What are we going to do? That’s the question. We have to do something. I know. Someone has to step up and lead. Tell me about it…” (There’s one man speaking the entire time, hence my lack of additional quotes. But, the dialogue is meant to be a conversation.” In another clip he opens a curtain saying, “Welcome to the new world of whiteness.” Then he opens another curtain saying, “It’s the same as the old one.”

Overall, the concept I got from the exhibit was that everyone has to, at some point, face racism, but the ways in which they can deal with it differ. Some people stand up, speak on it, and demand that it changes. Some people recognize that it needs to be fixed and the someone has to fix it. Some people just don’t do anything to fix, mend, or change it at all.

I believe the exhibit was trying to open the eyes of the audience, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or culture, to help them understand that race is everyone’s problem. I enjoyed the different creative tactics and methods of art that the curators used to convey this message. Going to see this exhibition during our class time, would’ve been very beneficial and potentially could’ve sparked in us some ideas to transfer to our digital story. Nonetheless, I’m glad that I got the opportunity to experience this exhibit and will share with my peers.

Pure Confidence Reflection

Pure confidence was an inspiring and interesting play, focused around the story of a black, enslaved jockey in the south during the 1800s. Throughout the semester I had been working on the costumes and parts of the set so it was exciting to see it all come together from the audience. I loved how intricate the woman’s clothing was and how the audience was incorporated into the stage setup. As the audience, we were sitting in the stands of a horse racing arena and it gave a very interesting dynamic to the play’s overalls atmosphere. We weren’t just watching the play, but we were also watching the audience’s reactions to what was going on, creating a more intimate setting.

As for the story that Pure Confidence told, it was empowering to see Simon speak up for himself against his white owners. He bought himself property even though enslaved people weren’t allowed to have property because they were seen as property. This was the way he fought back against slavery’s systemic structure. In the second act it was also interesting to see the difference in interaction between the two ladies, because now that the enslaved were free, they had an actual conversation, whereas before it was mainly Mattie talking and Caroline saying nothing in return except for yes ma’am or no ma’am. The play was well written and had some comical moments but for some of them I felt to awkward to laugh out loud. I found the way the characters were portrayed was clever particularly the switch between the beginning and the end of the war. It gave a depth to the characters that would have otherwise not arose.

Pure Confidence

The first thing that grasped my attention was the setup of the stage. I was not expecting to walk into a room full of hay on the floor and to have two audience sections on either sides of the room. It created a different atmosphere than another typical stage setup with the audience on one side of the room. I believed that the room allowed the audience feel like they were part of the room and the story. It was interesting to be able to watch the performers and the audience’s reactions at the same time.

During the play, I felt slightly uncomfortable because I did not know if it was socially acceptable to laugh at certain remarks.For the majority of the play, I sat back, observed, and allowed myself to process the information. The main theme that I thought about was how the system was built against the enslaved. Even though there was a chance for the enslaved to become “free”, they were still considered slaves to society who did not have to be clothed or watched over by owners. Furthermore, they still could not vote and they did not get paid a lot. The main character had so much passion and drive to become free. However, the system and the oppressors were always obstacles and never made the process or the product of freedom easy. This translates to the present and how minorities always have to work harder to prove themselves in situations such as the workplace because society was set up to not support minorities. 

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