Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark

Gary Simmons

Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark

A sculptural installation for music and performance

March 31 – April 29, 2017
Performances on Opening Night and scheduled Thursdays and Saturdays through April
Full schedule below

Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark is a sculptural installation by renowned visual artist Gary Simmons. The work serves as both literal and metaphorical platform for music and performance. A diverse selection of Bay Area musicians will activate the installation through the month of April in the gallery.

Simmons is best known for his “erasure” drawings, partially erased chalk drawings on chalkboard walls – works which evoke a sense of loss and convey the persistent power of memory, foremost around the erasure of black voices and bodies. In Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark, a similar ghostly residue remains in the space through looped video documentation of the musicians’ performances.

Southern Exposure features a diverse selection of local musicians and performers on this platform, creating a space that reverberates with the echoes of the wide array of musical voices that create the Bay Area community. Featured artists include XUXA SANTAMARIA, Chhoti Maa, Beast Nest, and The Creatrix. Performances are curated by Vreni Michelini Castillo, Sofia Córdova, Chris Duncan, Mik Gaspay, and Valerie Imus.

Inspired by the Black Ark, Lee “Scratch” Perry’s famed Jamaican studio and the site of the birth of dub, Recapturing Memories of the Black Ark includes a series of speakers hand-built from vintage parts and wood scavenged from the Treme neighborhood of post-Katrina New Orleans. Each performer can reconfigure the speakers according to their needs. Perry came up through the sound systems of Jamaica, mobile collectives of dj’s and mc’s who would perform at parties. As a music producer, he created a distinct sound that relied heavily on the use of echo, looping, and reverb – techniques that have been deeply influential across musical genres.