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Through experimentation in animation, shapes, and scale Dyson questions the idea of blackness in symbiosis with historical and existing shapes. This study asks, “If blackness is already an architectonic developed out of liquidity (ocean), can the work embody this phenomenon and offer sensation (sensoria) at the register of liberation?”
Dyson has created a system to represent the story of the enslaved by identifying shapes with people—Anthony Burns (hull=curve), Henry “Box” Brown (box=square), and Harriet Jacobs (garret=triangle). The resulting architectural pieces explore depth, form, and the possibility of resistance in geometries. Layers of wax and ink, graphite, and wood, plunge the viewer into a disturbing, yet liberating experience.
“In this moment of environmental precarity, we will need to be both liquid and mountains, bird and lava. And it is the density of black grace that will always be the thing that keeps us in our own humanity,” said Dyson. “Thinking through the histories of black liberation, these are the victories that fortify my being in the objects I make. It’s time for a new relationship with abstraction, an illegal abstraction developed out of the condition of a new world building toward liberation and revolution.”
“Studies for Bird and Lava” is on view through August 9, 2020.