My creative practice is driven by the entanglement of experiential, linguistic, and temporal registers which inscribe the people I grew up with and around in the predominately black, working class neighborhood of Hiram Clark in Southwest Houston, Texas. It was here that I first witnessed and began thinking on the forms of expression utilized by black people in response to the colliding temporal tracks of our personal and communal encounters with racial trauma and violence buttressed by foreclosed pleasure and fleeting joy. Although ever adjacent, these presences trouble the now and the mind like specters who teeter in and out of obscurity.
Thus, I’m interested in tactics that sustain black life in spite of atmospheres of anti-black violence which extend their reach from the global founding of modern society into the ongoing present. I’m interested in the blues’ radicalization of the cover, of repetition and of stall and delay as such a tactic; in the shout and worried notes as yet another; and in rhythm and rhyme, both inside and beyond the auditory, as mechanisms which counteract the insistence of anti-black violence to deny and destroy. I endeavor to manifest the complexity and whole historical weight of these movements into an artistic practice whose sole purpose is to raise and extend social inquiry. I am cultivating a practice which, first and foremost, serves black people.
My work unfolds from a deep material investigation of poetics and the autobiographical, combined with installation, glass, and photography. Within the infinite opaqueness and liquidity of poetics words shatter, phrases fragment and meaning slips. This entropic capacity of language ruptures the boundaries of established meaning and dominant thought which fortify the justification and reproduction of violence. I’m attracted to the material contradictions of glass: rigid but malleable, delicate yet dangerous, transparent but also fracturing and, therefore, opaque. I, thus, utilize glass to conceptually embody both the everyday risk of anti-black violence and the precocity and malleability of blackness in the face of this violence.
Furthermore, central to my artistic methodology is the reuse, deconstruction, and reconfiguration of materials, like glass and language, which correlate to the fragility and fungibility of blackness. I engage in metonymic acts of reuse and re-articulation by employing the same materials from prior installations to formulate the next. These reoccurrences that develop into new forms represent the ways in which repetition is both a symbol of black cultural production and its reliance on an order of temporal engagement in which the second time encodes an emergent originality.
charisse.weston [at] gmail.com