Affixing Ceremony: Four Movements for Essex, Tiona Nekkia McClodden 2015
*all handwritten text is by the artist Tiona Nekkia McClodden and the excerpts are from the body of work of Essex Hemphill's self published + published poetry and prose work.
Movement I: I'm carrying trauma into cyberspace -- violent gestures, a fractured soul, short fuses, dreams of revenge.... My primary public characteristics continue to be defined by dreads of me, myths about me and plain old homegrown contempt. All of this confusion is accompanying me into cyberspace; every indignity and humiliation, every anger and suspicion.
Essex + Audre, 2015 TRT: 2.17 minutes.
*footage found online comes from a scene in Tongues Untied, Marlon Riggs, 1989
*the quote Essex performs;
I know the anger lies inside of me like I know the beat of my heart and the taste of my spit. It is easier to be furious than to be yearning. Easier to crucify myself in you than to take on the threatening universe of whiteness by admitting that we are worth wanting each other.
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Movement II: Will I be allowed to construct a virtual reality that empowers me?
20 excerpts selected by artist Tiona McClodden from Essex's body of written and performed works; Diamonds Was in the Kitty (chatbook), Earth Life, Conditions, Ceremonies, The Brass Rail
Movement III: Can invisible men see their own reflections?
introducing Performer + Writer Marcus Borton
The Uncoolness of Grief, 2015 TRT: 1.26 minutes
*Untitled #1 1982 (excerpt) featuring Essex Hemphill with Garth Tate on Guitar + Brother AH on percussion recorded at DC Space courtesy Grace Cavalieri Forest Woods Productions
Movement IV: I was counting T-cells on the shores of cyberspace and feeling some despair.... I have miscegenated and mutated, tolerated and assimilated and yet I remain the same in the eyes of those who would fear and despise me. I stand at the threshold of cyberspace and wonder, is it possible that I am unwelcome here, too?
*photo of Essex Hemphill courtesy Sharon Farmer, copyright 1982
Featuring excerpts from conversations with;
Charles Nero interviewed in Lewiston, Maine, Barbara Smith in Albany, NY via phone, ABilly S. Jones-Hennin in Washington, D.C., Valerie Papaya Mann in Washington, D.C., Ron Simmons in Washington, DC via phone, Wayson Jones in Prince George's County, MD, Michelle Parkerson in Washington, D.C., Sharon Farmer in Washington, D.C., Joyce Wellman in Washington, D.C., Grace Cavalieri in Annapolis, MD, E. Ethelbert Miller in Washington, D.C., Christopher Prince in Washington, D.C, Aishah Shahidah Simmons in Philadelphia, PA, Tyrone Smith in Philadelphia, PA, Dorothy Beam (recorded at Essex Hemphill Dec. 95' Memorial Service in Philadelphia, PA, audio recording courtesy Aishah Shahidah Simmons), Sonia Sanchez (recorded at Essex Hemphill Dec. 95' Memorial Service in Philadelphia, PA audio recording courtesy Aishah Shahidah Simmons).
Heavy Corners read by Essex Hemphill, Community Journal Radio Show - Hosted by Denise Jones, March 1995
To Some Supposed Brothers read by Essex Hemphill, Community Journal Radio Show - Hosted by Denise Jones, March 1995
Essex speaks, Community Journal Radio Show - Hosted by Denise Jones, March 1995
Tiona Nekkia McClodden reading from Vital Signs; XXXVIII, 1993
Special Thanks to Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Sister Sonia Sanchez, Gina Renzi, Michelle Parkerson, Sharon Farmer, Marcus Borton, Adrienne Gaither + Jordan Rivers, Dr. Charles Nero for his generosity, Becky Huff Hunter + the ICA staff for their support, Corey Tegeler and Other Means for their patience.
*Funding Support provided by Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
© 2015 Tiona Nekkia McClodden