dreaming of a beyond: Philadelphia
- Levester Williams
- Penn Arts and Sciences Online Learning, School of Arts & Sciences
Independent Creative Production Grant
Levester Williams will present dreaming of a beyond: Philadelphia, which will feature an exhibition of videos and sculptures at the Icebox Project Space and on-campus lecture(s) sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies at Penn. The multimedia project underscores the intertwined history of African-Americans’ plight to full citizenship and a rather benign stone, the Cockeysville Marble. Quarried in Cockeysville, Maryland, starting in the early 1800s, the marble was incorporated into many iconic civic monuments, buildings, and cemeteries primarily across the Mid-Atlantic region—even in Philadelphia. Hence, the stone became emblematic of democracy. However, a discourse around the historical haptic transactions of African-Americans with the stone complicates this narrative. From emancipated blacks quarrying the stone alongside Irish migrants, to black residents of Baltimore cleaning the Cockeysville Marble stoops of their white counterparts’ rowhomes for wages or their own as acts of civic ownership, the stone materially inscribes the racial dynamics within the U.S. Here we have a conundrum: could we as a nation reach an unknowable space of a beyond, that is, beyond race and its bondage to value, when racial relations are embedded in the very material of the nation’s foundation?
*This project is supported by RAIR Philly.
- Independent Creative Production
- Making Art Grant
- Penn Arts and Sciences Online Learning
- School of Arts & Sciences