Charisse Weston, Politics Surrounded | From Giving (Medley), 2016.
Video installation (featured), handmade poetry chapbook, restored benches.
Politics Surrounded | From Giving (Medley) is a multi-media video installation concerned with disrupting and complicating the cycles of desire and consumption surrounding the image and sound of black physical, mental, and spiritual labor. The video piece overlays, abstracts, and converges video and audio recordings from various sites throughout Elsewhere, with abstracted video of the body performing repeated gestures, as well as manipulated recordings of gospel and blues covers sung by the artist. This installation questions where and how the black body resides in space, what its image and its work evokes, and in what ways (if any) poetic manipulations of material transgress traditional modes of consumption, allowing alternate spaces and times to emerge wherein the body might find value outside of its boundaries. The installation also features poetry written and compiled by the artist, as well as restored benches. Entitled The Unpossessed, the collection of poems accompanying the video piece mediates on the body, on representation, and on the illusiveness of the locales wherein the value and power of black bodies present and gone reside within the current state of political and social unrest in the United States. Finally, the benches, which were restored using Elsewhere’s wood library, through their physical engagement with the viewer, act as metaphor for repairing the body, reclaiming awareness of it, and its significance.