Friday, February 19, 2010

William Pope L. at the Space for New Media at TSU Art

“Artists don’t make art. They make conversations. They make things happen. They change the world.” William Pope L.

William Pope. L
is a prominent multidisciplinary artist known for his conceptual, often performance-based art practice, which actively confronts issues of race, sex, power, consumerism, and social class. As the self-proclaimed “friendliest black artist in America,” Pope.L invites dialogue through provocative performances, installations, and art objects. He is best known for a series of more than 40 “crawls” designed to draw attention to the plight of those members of society who are least empowered.



TSU “ Versioning” Project Summary

The idea of the work is “versioning”; creating a parallel world to our own with a slight shift or knot on film (technically video shot to resemble film). In the TSU project, the slight shift or knot will be in costume/uniform. Set in Nashville, and leveraging the specific cultural memory of the Civil War (associated with the landscape and place), the 6-8 hour documentary-style film will speak to issues, tension and conflicts associated with identity, history, “truth” and theatricality. The project will involve dressing people in costumes/uniforms like Robert E. Lee, creating a subculture of folks that reference the Civil War era, making visual the cultural memory.

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Dear artists, art students, and project enthusiasts,

I have spoken to many of you about “Versioning Nashville”, an inventive project of artist, William Pope L. initiated by the Space for New Media at TSU Art. We are so glad to be a part of introducing him to Nashville through this project. I am most excited for activating our art community on a project together.

William Pope L. is a prominent multidisciplinary artist known for his conceptual, often performance-based art practice, which actively confronts issues of race, sex, power, consumerism, and social class. Many of you know of the boundary-pushing art from this Maine-based Contemporary artist. As the self-proclaimed “friendliest black artist in America,” Pope.L invites dialogue through provocative performances, installations, and art objects. I’ve had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Pope L. about his Nashville project for two years now, and find him to be exacting and brilliant.

Tennessee State University’s Art Department and Galleries have invited Mr. Pope L. to come produce “Versioning Nashville” from February-Fall 2010. Here is a short project description:

The idea of the work is “versioning”; creating a parallel world to our own with a slight shift or knot on film (technically video shot to resemble film). In the TSU project, the slight shift or knot will be in costume. Set in the south, and leveraging the specific cultural memory of the Civil War associated with the landscape and place, the film will speak to issues, tension and conflicts associated with identity, history, “truth” and theatricality. The project will involve dressing people in a part of Nashville in costumes/uniforms like Robert E. Lee, creating a subculture of folks that reference the Civil War era. The “Lees” will go about their day in the same way they would if they were not wearing the costumes. The documentary will be stripped-down, about 4-8 hours (duration is important- like Joyce’s Ulysses).

As you might deduce from the description, there are a number of “roles” that one could play to be a part of the project. Some of you have agreed to be an “actor/Lee”, others have shown interest in providing more administrative assistance, while others would like to help in filming or shooting. Should you have an idea that you want to participate and how, email me with a role you might hope to fill. If you have no idea, don’t worry! We’ve got lots of ways to be a part of the project, from documentation (photography) to costume maintenance.

We are in the middle of scouting locations for shooting (anywhere from the Smyrna Military Training site to a local super market). When we meet I can go over locations more in detail. Mr. Pope L’s first visit will be in a few weeks-February 18-22. During that time we will be completing several points on the project:
1) Mr. Pope L will give a public Artist Talk (Feb 18, 6pm, TSU Main Campus Humanities Poag Auditorium)
2) Mr. Pope L. will meet project participants (Meeting Time TBD, most likely after the talk for everyone’s convenience)
3) We will begin shooting on two scenes (Fri. Feb 19-Sun Feb 21)
4) We will scout other shooting locations for his visit




PS- Here are some links on Pope L.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Pope.L

http://www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org/grant_recipients/popel.html

http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4SUNA_enUS252US253&q=william+pope+l&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=EvcKS_jcCdCWtgfrz-C_Cg&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=10&ved=0CDUQqwQwCQ#sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4SUNA_enUS252US253&q=william+pope+l&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=EvcKS_jcCdCWtgfrz-C_Cg&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=10&ved=0CDUQqwQwCQ&qvid=william+pope+l&vid=7439496697678389733





Jodi Hays Gresham
Director, TSU Art Galleries
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Blvd., PO Box 9562
Nashville, TN 37209
615.963.1599