Jefferson Pinder: Fire and Movement

Public Performance July 11, 2019

THIS IS NOT A DRILL performance, May 2019, Chicago, IL. Image Credit: Orlando Pinder.

(Houston, TX, June 20, 2019)- This summer, DiverseWorks is pleased to announce the premiere of Fire and Movement, a newly commissioned public performance by Chicago-based artist Jefferson Pinder.

WHEN & WHERE Thursday, July 11, 2019 (rain or shine) 7:00 PM – Performance begins near Detering St. and Washington Ave 9:30 PM – Final phase of the performance at the African American Library at the Gregory School, 1300 Victor Street. (Please gather by 9 pm)

DOWNLOAD HI-RES IMAGES AND PRESS RELEASE

ABOUT FIRE AND MOVEMENT

Jefferson Pinder’s Fire and Movement takes its inspiration from the 1917 Camp Logan Uprising, also referred to as “the Houston Riot” or “Camp Logan Mutiny,” one of Houston’s most complicated and often-misrepresented historical events. The uprising saw African American soldiers of the 3rd Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry revolt and attempt to march on the city after experiencing abuse from white citizens and the police in Jim Crow-era Houston.

Fire and Movement will take place on July 11, 2019 beginning at 7:00 pm, featuring Pinder and a group of performers who will embark on foot on a four-mile journey across the city that retraces the path of the soldiers’ movements according to transcripts and archival maps. Their journey will begin near the intersection of Detering Street and Washington Avenue, which is in the area of the original location of the 24th Infantry’s camp and was once a predominantly African American community that is currently affected by rising gentrification and cultural displacement.

Through a series of drills and stylized movements using period-specific rifles, the group will maneuver their way from Washington Ave. onto Dallas St. and into the 4th Ward, concluding with a performance inside the African American Library at the Gregory School, 1300 Victor Street, at approximately 9:30 pm.

Fire and Movement is a segment of Jefferson Pinder’s national project, the Red Summer Road Trip (May-July 2019), which takes its title from a term coined by author and Civil Rights activist James Weldon Johnson to refer to the deadly race riots that took place during the summer of 1919. Over a three-month period, Pinder will explore historic sites of unrest across the South and Midwest – Washington, D.C.; Birmingham, AL; New Orleans, LA; Houston, TX; Chicago, IL – to provoke conversations about racial injustices that occurred one hundred years ago and that still make up the fiber of Black experiences today.

This road trip builds on the legacy of Jack Kerouac, who inspired Pinder to think of the journey itself as a medium for creativity by finding poetic influences from the ordinary — recording, documenting, and learning on the road. By visiting sites alone and with performers from The Middle Passage Guerilla Theatre Company, Pinder hopes to explore the complexities of race in America. Pinder also draws inspiration from The Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Era who offered an interventionist model of action and protest.

Fire and Movement is part of DiverseWorks’ History is Contemporary curatorial programming that features multidisciplinary exhibitions and performances in 2019 – 2020 by artists who will engage with communities in Houston, Texas to create new works that explore current social, economic, and cultural issues in relation to specific historical events.

Jefferson Pinder’s Fire and Movement is commissioned and presented by DiverseWorks, Houston, in collaboration with the African American Library at the Gregory School. The performance is organized by DiverseWorks Assistant Curator, Ashley DeHoyos with accompanying outreach programs organized by Community Engagement and Project Coordinator, M’kina Tapscott. The artist has developed the work in collaboration with Drill Specialist Joseph Lefthand Losinski (United States Marine Corps) and dramaturge Vinod Hopson.

RELATED PROGRAMS

Dark Was the Night: A THOSE WHO DESIRE Tour of the Camp Logan Uprising
June 26, July 10, and July 24, 2019, 7:00 PM
with Vinod Hopson
Advance registration required.
ONLINE REGISTRATION
Dark Was the Night is a tour of the history and geography of the Camp Logan Uprising of 1917. Alternatively known as the Houston Riot, the uprising was a mutiny of over 100 black soldiers, reacting to threats and abuse from white citizens and the police in Houston. The battle-hardened soldiers of the 24th Infantry were among the most-respected black units in Army. The war-time posting of this elite fighting force in a hostile Southern city created tensions that erupted on a hot and rainy summer evening. As the sun rose the following morning, 16 people lay dead, including five policemen. What events set up this night of violence, and what was the spark that ignited the catastrophic explosion? See the places central to the story that are hiding in plain sight. Topics explored on the tour include: the perpetuation of power dynamics, the building of resentment, communal response to trauma, the destruction of communities, racism, and police harassment. This tour is limited to 10 participants per date, and includes some moderate walking.

Panel Discussion: Race & Riots – The Legacy Of Camp Logan
Wednesday, July 10, 2019, 6:00 PM
African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street, Houston, TX 77019
2nd Floor, Reading Room
Panelists: Naomi Mitchell Carrier, Executive Director of the Texas Center for African American Living History (TCAALH); Angela Holder, Professor of History at Houston Community College and descendant of Corporal Jesse Moore, Company I, 24th Infantry; Vinod Hopson, dramaturge, artist, and historian; and Jefferson Pinder, artist. Race and Riots: The Legacy of Camp Logan will provide context for Fire and Movement and Red Summer Road Trip. Race has been an element of many riots in American history, including the riot that followed the assault of an Army Sergeant in the Third Battalion of the 24th Infantry while stationed at Camp Logan. This panel presentation will explore the history of the Camp Logan Uprising in Houston and its aftermath, which included, at that time, the largest murder trial in U.S. history, as well as the legacy of the 24th Infantry.

FIRE AND MOVEMENT PARTICIPANTS & PARTNERS

Jefferson Pinder

Jefferson Pinder has produced performance-based and multidisciplinary work for over a decade. He received a BA in Theatre and MFA in Mixed Media from the University of Maryland, and studied at the Asolo Theatre Conservatory in Sarasota, FL. Pinder’s work provokes commentary about race and struggle. Primarily using neon, found objects, and video, he investigates identity through the most dynamic circumstances and materials. From uncanny video portraits associated with popular music to durational work that puts the black body in motion, his work examines physical conditioning that reveals an emotional response. Pinder’s work has been featured in numerous group and solo shows including exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut, Showroom Mama in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and The Phillips Collection and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Pinder was included in the 2016 Shanghai Biennale and his work has also been presented at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2016, he was awarded a United States Artist’s Joyce Fellowship Award in the field of performance and was a 2017 John S. Guggenheim Fellow. Currently, Pinder is a Professor of Sculpture and the Dean of Faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Vinod Hopson

Vinod Hopson is an artist, storyteller, and non-profit arts administrator. His project, Those Who Desire, explores the lost, often difficult histories of the city of Houston through performance and cartography. This takes the form of bus and walking tours. While the civic and tourist industries take great pleasure in touting the city’s diversity, the stories of those diverse communities, and their importance to the city are overlooked, or worse, willfully ignored. Hopson researches and engages those stories, stitching them together to form a more fully understood and appreciated Houston. Hopson was the recipient of a 2016 Idea Fund Grant for Those Who Desire. He was born in New Jersey and has lived in Houston since 1996. With his wife, he maintains a small flock of backyard chickens and a small child.

Naomi Mitchell Carrier

Naomi Carrier is an educator, historian, and author with a background in Black Music, Texas History, and Heritage Tourism. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Texas Center for African American Living History (TCAALH) and is a professor at Houston Community College. Her education includes the University of North Texas, Denton; St. Thomas University, Houston; and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA. She was a Rice University Scholar-in-Residence for her research on the Reconstruction Era in Texas. Carrier is a heritage tourism professional and has a thorough understanding of Texas history from the African American perspective. Her work is rooted in Black history and has been presented through exhibitions, musicals, workshops, and heritage tours.

Angela Holder

Angela Holder is a Professor of American History in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Houston Community College, Central Campus. She is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and received her BS in Social Science from Louisiana State University, a MA in Social Science from Southern University, Baton Rouge, and a MA in History from the University of Houston. Holder has served on the Board of Directors at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum and the College Memorial Park Association, one of the oldest African American cemeteries in Texas. Through her work, she has been instrumental in keeping the story of Camp Logan alive.

The African American Library at the Gregory School

The African American Library at the Gregory School officially opened on Saturday, November 14, 2009. It is housed in the Edgar M. Gregory School, which served as the first public school for African Americans in Houston. As the first library of its kind in Houston and one of the few African American libraries in the country, the Gregory School serves as a resource to preserve, promote, and celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans in Houston, the surrounding region, and the African Diaspora.

About the Red Summer Road Trip

In the late summer and early fall of 1919, violence and uprising erupted across the United States. Hundreds of Black lives were lost in the midst of this transitory period of unrest and hostility. This summer, Jefferson Pinder is embarking on a classic American journey: a road trip to visit major sites associated with The Red Summer. He intends to bring into focus how much has changed since that summer – and how much has not.

For more information please visit: http://jeffersonpinder.com

SUPPORT

Fire and Movement is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance. Foundation support comes from The Brown Foundation, Inc., the Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, the Houston Endowment, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the Wortham Foundation.

ABOUT DIVERSEWORKS

DiverseWorks commissions, produces, and presents new and daring art in all its forms through innovative collaborations that honor each artist’s vision without constraint. Founded by artists in 1982, DiverseWorks is nationally known for its groundbreaking programming; as a resource for the innovative and meaningful engagement of communities; and as a force that has shaped contemporary thought and practice in Houston and the nation. DiverseWorks has a long history of supporting the creation of new work, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and as a bridge between diverse sectors of the art community. DiverseWorks is committed to equitable compensation for artists and is W.A.G.E. (Working Artists in the Greater Economy) Certified. More information at http://www.wageforwork.com/.

DiverseWorks
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Houston, TX 77002
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