All Images © 2012
Justin Randolph Thompson
May 22nd-June 20th, 2015, Moldy Figs is an installation and performance created for Momenta Art in Brooklyn inverting social hierarchies through superficial elegance, folk contaminated sound work, gold leafing shoes as an anticipation of spiritual ascension, and scattered debris of a stagnant revolution. The work seeks to undermine classifications of folk cultural traditions as outdated, old fashioned or irrelevant by decontextualizing them through performance where the empowerment of the local community is fulfilled through their connection to methods of political subversion from Expansionist antiquity.
Manual labor and industrialization frames elements drawn from folk traditions such as the grease pole, the shoeshine trade, quilting, human powered mechanics and minstrel entertainment within the context of an elegance that dislocates modernist tendencies towards high/low disassociation.
A central six-seater shoe shine merry-go-round converts the trade of shoe shining into systematic gold leafing employing different performers to engage with the different steps of the process. This rotating sculpture transforms the historic service into an assembly line factory task providing the viewing public with the opportunity to have their shoes gold leafed simultaneously shifting their position in the space in dialogue with a series of suspended quilts sewn from mechanics rags that serve as projection screens for performance based video segments.
For the opening a sound based performance that combines sight reading by a series of solo violinists and a free jazz solo sax performance from the interior of the shoe shine merry-go-round. This dialogue of abrasive jazz inflections and a classical score that embraces notions of warm up, hesitation and repetition will further the environment of class associated sound. Following the opening, a recording of the sound performances will be emitted from a series of reclaimed faux wood inlay speakers spread throughout the space with stereo sound shifting physically throughout the gallery.
Collaboration with Composer and Jazz Saxophonist Jason Thompson, Filmmaker Bradly Dever Treadaway and local performers provides for a performance that will leave the installation full of performative evidence. The footage from this event will be elaborated into a feature length video that embraces reality as a formal construct.