The Center for Public Art and Space, in partnership with Monument Lab, presents a lecture by Ashon Crawley, this year’s visiting scholar artist. As part of Ashon Crawley's ongoing research, he will present from The Hammond Organ and the Problem of Black Sexuality, a multigenre project that takes the electric mechanical instrument of the Hammond Organ, invented in the 1930s, to think about various problematics experienced in black social life.
From the failures of public schooling and the gentrification of urban centers to the failures of public health and the lack of free comprehensive healthcare, listening to the Hammond Organ and its being performed in Black churches can give us a cue and clue into the ways people have responded to crisis. Reading from the historical-critical work titled Made Instrument about the historical practice of musicianship in Blach churches, and from the fictional work titled "Musicians and the Tales of the Children," inspired by Djibril Diop Mambéty’s “Tales of Little People,” about how children were not given space to process the AIDS epidemic and the impact of crack cocaine in the 1980s while going to church, the lecture will experiment with form and genre to answer: What is the consequence of listening to the Hammond organ from the vantage of a child? What does sex and sexuality have to do with the playing of an instrument? And, too, what is the relationship of musicality and instrumentalization to the AIDS crisis?
Ashon Crawley is this year’s visiting scholar artist for the Center for Public Art and Space at Weitzman. He is a writer, artist and teacher, exploring the intersection of performance, blackness, queerness and spirituality. Associate professor of Religious Studies and African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, he is author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press) and The Lonely Letters (Duke University Press). He is currently working on a book about black social life; a book about the Hammond B3 organ, the black church, and sexuality and a short story collection. He is the founder of otherwise arts lab, an integrative arts space and experimental practice. A MacDowell interdisciplinary arts fellow, and a New City Arts Initiative Fellow, his work has been featured at Second Street Gallery, Welcome Gallery, Bridge Projects and the California African American Museum. All his work is about otherwise possibility.
This lecture will be accompanied by a special installation of Crawley’s loss. nothing. memorial. at Monument Lab’s headquarters (1625 North Howard Street) with an Opening Reception on Friday, April 8 from 5:00-7:00pm. To register for the Opening Reception, please register through Monument Lab's Eventbrite.
More information on Ashon Crawley's loss. nothing. memorial
loss. nothing. memorial. is a sound installation to honor and provide ceremony for musicians, singers, and choir directors lost to HIV/AIDS in the Black Church between 1980 and 2005. The public health crisis impacted and was consequential to the social reality, theological understanding, and sound practices of the black church. Using the sounds of musicians on the Hammond organ that died of AIDS-related complications between 1980 and 2005 as the sonic foundation, loss. nothing. memorial. is an immersive sound event. Visitors will use their (personal) headphone devices and smartphones to listen to the sounds of musicians, of sermons they would have heard and endured, whispers and sounds of despair, but also sounds of joy and celebration.
To reserve a time to experience Crawley’s loss. nothing. memorial. installation at Monument Lab through May 13, please register through Monument Lab's Eventbrite.
If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.