Bricks, Palm Oil, Gunpowder, and Lemon (2020)
I activate the material through a performance where I build the foundation of the wall and then select a person from the audience to complete the building of the wall. The wall must be constructed in its entirety by one person. The individual selected to build must be a white male. If they refuse to build the wall, they have to leave the performance space. I continue the selection process until a white man agrees to construct the wall. Building the wall can take up to 5 hours. If they refuse to leave the performance is shut down. If they leave, I push and make the wall collapse so whoever agrees to build the wall next must rebuild from scratch. If the wall gets completed, the person who accomplished the building of the wall along with audience members in the room push the wall down together. The final artwork version is a collapsed wall, no matter at what stage performance ended. The wall is never meant to remain standing.
The artwork is located in the interaction between the audience and me. The building of the wall becomes a mechanism to speak about ideas of free labor (emotional and physical), capitalism, and the sharing of labor. The wall and the construction of it serve as a metaphor for the cities and nations that were built by enslaved Africans and the dysfunction of the capitalist system. I repeatedly push down the incomplete wall until it gets fully built as an analogy to the ongoing collapse and reconstruction of capitalism, over its very debris. Capitalism is driven by a long history of gentrification, racism, and exploitation. Labour, precarity, and death have always been at our doorstep.