WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS
With works by Matana Roberts
Matana Roberts’s immersive video and sound installation addresses the turbulent political events of the past year in the US: the presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement, the pandemic, the storming of the Capitol, and their ineluctable intertwining. Roberts portrays the US states in a large-scale installation of fifty loudspeakers developed specifically for the daadgalerie. The individual speakers and their various “classes of sound” make tangible the country’s complexity, diversity, and division, i.e. the cacophony of the present moment. For her abstract visual collages, Roberts draws from her personal archive of photographs and videos as well as found-footage material of American protest movements such as video clips of demonstrations posted on the internet. Roberts combines these projections with a massive loudspeaker installation, thereby confronting audiences with a deliberately overwhelming situation.
Matana Roberts focuses attention here on the distortions and accelerations that undermine meaning when transferred from physical to digital space as well as the escalating of these mediated realities on various levels when reverberating in physical spaces. Consequences such as loss of control and powerlessness, as well as targeted manipulation and the exercise of power, overlap and reinforce each other. Roberts interweaves into every turn of this vortex the perspective of Black communities in the US regarding ongoing inequality, police violence, and arbitrariness. As in her previous works, she reflects not least on the intergenerational traumas of Black communities and their echoes in the current situation. Despite the rage she unleashes, Matana Roberts ultimately leaves her audiences with a sense of hope and a strong statement for the power of collectivity.
Matana Roberts was music fellow of the Artists-in-Berlin Program in 2019–20.
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Photo: M. Tarantelli