Cloud of Whiteness

Interactive Sculpture, Environment & Performance Space
Concept, Design & Direction by Megan Young
Performance by Gregory King & Leila Khoury

Project Iterations
Nuclear Winter: In Collaboration with Gregory King & Angela Davis Fegan
Chimeric Whiteness, Or Nightmares Passing as Normal: In Collaboration with Chicago Artists and Audiences

Exhibition History:
Elevate Dance Chicago, Chicago DanceMakers Forum
Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology, Connecticut College
SPACES Gallery, First 100+ Days
The Current Sessions Vol VII: On Resistance

Media Mentions:
CAN Journal
Plain Dealer

This interactive installation and performance piece is presented as a microcosm of our current and trans-historical political climate.  It features construction materials – brick, canvas, rope, and repurposed motor – layered against the seemingly invisible technologies of digital surveillance. Bricks are stacked in protective wall or tower arrangements and viewers are invited to deconstruct, rearrange, and rebuild. The space undergoes continuous transformation with shifting boundaries and barriers, but the underlying programming remains consistent. Mechanisms of control prolong a dominance of “whiteness” in the space.

The whiteness presents itself in white painted bricks, theatrical snow, and the light-skinned bodies able to move about the space unimpeded. Whiteness is measured by processing digital surveillance images using custom software; it is maintained through a protectionist system of linear logic and physical computing. The pervasive and compounding micro-aggressions of this chimeric whiteness are a thing of nightmares passing as normal.

The work is activated by viewers and invited performers, including Gregory King and Leila Khoury. Performers source personal history and lived experience to enact rituals of resistance, protection, and defiance. As in life, they negotiate their black and brown bodies within the context of hostile white spaces.

Photo Credit (All Above): Evan Prunty

BACKGROUND

Cloud of Whiteness was originally developed as part of SPACES Gallery, First 100+ Days exhibition curated by Christina Vassallo. The performance score has grown through presentation in The Current Sessions Vol. VII: On Resistance series curated by Alexis Convento.  A new iteration was developed in residence at Connecticut College, Ammerman Center for Arts & Technology with the addition of original prints by collaborative artist Angela Davis Fegan. The work has continued to grow and is now being developed for presentation as a laboratory space with ensemble exploration. That development is supported by a Greenhouse Grant by Chicago DanceMakers Forum (CDF) and presented through Elevate Chicago Dance curated by Peter Taub and Aaliyah Christina at the Chicago Cultural Center

 

TECHNIQUES

This work utilizes camera vision techniques via an installed surveillance camera and Max MSP processing of data activating a motor/pulley system. The pulley agitates a sculptural mini- snow cradle, releasing theatrical snow into the installation space. In some cases, repurposed computer fans are used in place of the pulley system. The handmade red clay bricks have been salvaged from a mason’s century home in Cleveland, OH. Custom software has been developed in Max MSP.

 

THE CURRENT SESSIONS

Photo Credit (Above): Corey Melton: Video Credit (Below): Jacob Hiss

 

SPACES GALLERY

Above Images Courtesy of SPACES Gallery
Photo Credits: Alex Miller, Darice Polo,
Megan Young, and Ron Shelton

 

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE

Nuclear Winter

Photo Credit: Ammerman Center of Art & Technology