Hosted by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Bayeté Ross Smith, photographer, artist, and education worker, will discuss his work, now on view in the show Who Governs? at Artspace in New Haven, where it is in conversation with digitized images of materials from Beinecke Library collections.
Bayeté Ross Smith’s Got The Power boombox sculpture series emerges from the intersection of a history that connects public space, noise ordinances, racial identity, and popular culture. The sculptures, exhibited in parks, commercial sites, and community non-profits, are the product of negotiated partnerships but their location and their community-sourced soundtracks honor the transgressive history of the boomboxes in public. Past sculptures have used old boomboxes traded online or found secondhand, but for this cycle Smith invited PulpWorks, the sustainable package manufacturer, to create a line of takeaway boombox shells made of sugar cane and cotton pulp. Sweet is the only way to describe the serendipity of recycling two commodities—sugar and cotton— associated with Black bodies in antebellum America to produce the shell of an object associated with the birth of hiphop culture.
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