a note from Bamuthi

Posted in Uncategorized | March 15, 2011 | by emilyharney | (1) Comment

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i am wishing you all in chicago with me right now…
Theaster’s  iteration of urban development embodies the principles that we seek to manifest with Life is Living, and through red, black and GREEN: a blues.

read this  for deeper context:
Regarding the rbGb set…think Legos. Large, repurposed wood puzzle pieces that assemble and reassemble in the shape of different structures that are linked to the piece’s geography. Chicago architectural geometry, Houston’s row houses, New York’s brownstone stoops, California coastline…

Trace a narrative that encompasses the building and deconstruction of these archetypal frames…

With each reconstruction we also fashion a different projection surface(s), in a different physical location on stage, in a different shape, perhaps with video cut to match the unique shape of corresponding structures…flat like the earth next to water, tall and tetris, like the negative space in chicago’s skylines…

Think redeemed wood…built in hydraulics…built in speakers… pull out drawers that hide a potter’s wheel or a surface for tapping or surface for drumming.

pictures soon…
much love

Being “inside” the practice

Posted in Uncategorized | February 4, 2011 | by emilyharney | Leave a Comment

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Sekou Sundiata’s America Project has had lasting effects throughout every part of MAPP – perhaps most significantly on our ideas of community engagement and the role of the arts in civic dialogue. Above my desk I have a strip of paper taped to the wall that reads, in Sekou’s words, “the intersection of art, imagination, humanities and public engagement” to remind me to think about all of those elements when building programs to support public interaction with artists. One of the ways we’re striving to continue his vision is through something currently called “The America Project Knowledgebase” which we’re building in partnership with the design and research firm Buscada.

The Knowledgebase is meant to support the evolution of The America Project by learning from and connecting practitioners of The America Project methodology through the creation of a web-based resource and a range of publications (from email blasts to a documentary film, for example). Through it we’re looking to understand more how people are using the Teaching Method and how it intersects with their own practice, and then to feed this information back into the world to inspire new practices of collaboration, creativity and citizenship. Again and again and again….

One part of building the Knowledgebase (among many) is in-depth interviews with practitioners we know are already engaged in this work. Yesterday we had a meeting with Buscada to discuss the strategy we’ll employ in these interviews and spent quite a while talking about ways that we can keep the interview “inside” the practice, rather than “about” the practice. How can we set up part of the interview as a simulation of practice to get people out of their heads and thinking in a more indirect way? Maybe it just means walking through a neighborhood while talking? Or dancing while talking? Or for a teacher, being in the classroom where they do their work? If their practice is largely collaborative, does it make sense for the interview to be with multiple people? What does it mean for an arts presenter or someone who runs a community organization?

We’d love to hear your ideas.

NYC premiere screening slideshow

Posted in Uncategorized | March 8, 2010 | by emilyharney | Leave a Comment

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Thanks to all who came out to the NYC premiere screening of finding the 51st (dream) state: Sekou Sundiata’s America Project last Wednesday. It was an inspiring time and we look forward to continuing the dialogue about the relationship of art making and creativity to citizenship.

Breaking bread & singing & being American

Posted in Uncategorized | October 27, 2009 | by Joyce Lawler | (1) Comment

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Last weekend, I was warmly welcomed into the community at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis for “Singing the Legacy of Sekou Sundiata” — a citizenship potluck dinner and community sing inspired by the civic activism and artistry of poet, performer and educator Sekou Sundiata.   Nearly 100 people turned out (on a Saturday night no less) to not only enjoy the great food and music but to pause and reflect on “American-ness” — our own and each other’s.  The eagerness to share this exploration was palpable.  We all have an American story or song or dream to share, different from having our opinions to express (and axes to grind).  Responses to the question “when do you most feel like a citizen?” included when I put my money in the bank and when I go to a baseball game and when I work with new immigrants to the U.S. and when I helped Barack Obama get elected and when I hand my passport over to the immigration official and watch them stamp it.  There was no patriotic agenda, only patriotic feelings.  It was refreshing to be in a place and space created to nurture this personal exchange. Thank you Theresa, Julie, Reggie and Marlina, the wonderful performers, and everyone else at Intermedia who committed to making this evening happen, along with all the other citizenship dinners and lunchtime gatherings you hosted last week.  We look forward to hearing how this conversation continues in your community.


Remembering and honoring Sekou Sundiata, 1948-2007

Posted in Uncategorized | July 18, 2009 | by annrosenthal | Leave a Comment

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With sadness and love we remember Sekou Sundiata who passed away this day two years ago.

Sekou Sundiata performs his "the 51st (dream) state" at BAM, Nov. 2006

Sekou Sundiata performs his "the 51st (dream) state" at BAM, Nov. 2006

His America Project and final performance piece, the 51st (dream) state, continue to inspire us as we try to achieve Sekou’s goal:  “to look at the ways in which this work can live in the world, once the show is over, once I leave town, and once these partnerships or relationships are developed.”

This fall, we’ll be releasing a DVD documentary about the America Project and another of the BAM performances of the 51st (Dream) state and together with the America Project Working Group we’re supporting community projects in several cities that continue Sekou’s methodology and vision.

But on this day especially I can’t help feeling that there must be more ways to keep this work living in the world and to keep developing new connections.

Sekou often asked “when you think about where society is now, do you have any hope that there is a possible future coming out of this that is better?”  We invite you to share your ideas and join us in honoring Sekou and keeping him present in our lives.

All of a sudden…