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Justin Randolph Thompson

Surveying Gravity is a Creative Capital funded project and research constellation dedicated a reconfiguration of notions of legacy and commemoration. Bringing together those engaged in advancing work aligned with the legacy of my grandfather Randolph Bromery the project is about providing strategic pushes for the goals and objectives of these initiatives while also providing common ground for coming together across and beyond fields.

"You won't be naming no building after me... to go down dilapidated...My name won't be mistated"
Erykah Badu

In 2020 the Fine Arts Center at UMASS announced that it would bear the name of Justin Randolph Thompson’s grandfather, Randolph Bromery. As an artist engaged in notions of maintenance and re-signifying monuments, Thompson will explore the legacy of Bromery in Surveying Gravity, a research-oriented, performance-based project engaging the labor of legacy maintenance.
The work draws upon the form of Bromery’s unfinished basement, and his trajectory as the founder of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, a Tuskegee airman, a geophysicist, a Howard graduate, a jazz musician, the chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, and the president of Springfield College as material for performance based engagement. For the project, Thompson will restore his grandfather’s 100-year-old silver Buescher alto saxophone, and use performative forms of experiential research in dialogue with Bromery’s unpublished memoirs and personal archive to connect jazz history, geological survey, and social activism.