Theaster Gates


Two things seem to be played for me. One is, is it possible within artistic practice to raise the flag? That something is afoot that there's a challenge among that there's a monster in the building and I tried to do that in the most poetic ways possible not to make the art dirty in a way with the things that are on the ground because I want to make poetry, and then there are other times where I used platforms like rebuild foundation and things that happen on the block in my neighborhood why use those as the kind of tactical battleground to express my political views? Fiesta Gates is work by his own characterization doesn't easily fall into a single category. Gates's born in Chicago in nineteen seventy three, and it's his home city and it's neighborhoods that have been central to his work which aims to revitalise underserved urban areas by melting design and contemporary art. In twenty ten, he launched to Rebuild Foundation, which is reimagined. What's an urban property development practice can be undo. The foundations projects, Gates says allow people to see demonstrated what could happen if black resources and black influence was used in a black space, and if that experiment was successful, he says, others would take up the charge. As. Demonstrations and the black lives matter movement look set to influence this year's presidential election in a significant way the. Work is resonant as ever. I'm Thomas Lewis and for our final episode of special series of conversations. Ahead of the US presidential election I spoke to the instigates for the big interview. Fiesta Gates a very warm welcome to you to the big interview. To begin fiesta, it seemed to me that a lot of your work, the themes that it has dealt with over the years. The many of those themes have played out in the united. States over the past few months from your vantage point when a lot of these themes are sharpened by an election campaign under unprecedented election year. Old Things unfolding from your vantage points and in the context of your work over the years. It's really clear now that we are a nation divided. And that a part of our nation seems preoccupied with the maintenance in the ongoing determined care of a power construct that works for some not all and the maintenance of that construct requires violence in the military to maintain. Land. There's another part of the country that seems despondent in without leadership in leadership capacity, and as a result I, think violence also emerges from the underbelly of culture because those who don't have are in direct connection with those who do. and. It creates a tremendous amount of tension. So it feels like militarized powered that maintains racial oppression and in social oppression, and then despondency and frustration for the masses that results in the eruption of violence in our streets. And you talk about lack of leadership in in many ways, where do those leaders come from and what they look like in your mind well, I think that the challenges been for too long. We think that one elected official or a constellation of elected officials that they can do the work alone without the ongoing responsibility that each individual has to the promotion of justice to the maintenance of equity to the creation of new opportunity is I think that in some ways While I think, leadership is important in elected officials are important. It has also made the average citizen less politically active than it should be, and so you have small clusters of extremely active people and then you have populations grown weary of the judicial and political processes in may be feel like they can't offer whole lot. It's a moment where I feel like maybe in the past more people believe that they had the capacity for leadership. Maybe, leadership had a bit more of a moral or social imperative than it does now. And I kinda wish those days will return. The characterization you laid out, there is interesting I think given that so many people are talking about the kind of energy this present in the United States at the moment, leading up to election day from the demonstrations be it from the pandemic has laid bare and that's coupled with reports that party registration numbers have been higher than ever before during certain months leading up to the election, how'd you reconcile those two things? This apparent sort of lack of leadership this energy that people that many voters appear to be feeling this time around yeah. It'd be that I definitely believe that the need for new leadership has spurred more or less on to be more politically active than maybe we've ever been that. There is a fear that the maintenance of the current political regime is not a good thing and that it could happen in. So it's been interesting to see the pop community kind of Cultural Community help to mobilize young people to do more at the same time that's happening. You're also seeing the dismantling of the postal system in the creation of this national anxiety where infrastructure that could help to ensure that people have the ability to boat that some of that infrastructure is being torn away out of the rights fear that more people will be mobilizes. So again, there's an excitement in the doing, and then there's also the undoing it seems real. So it feels like there is a kind of tension. Between Hardee's and power. And that idea of mobilization has been a key motive. Would you say a key driver? Of Your work has spanned so many different mediums of the years. We'll say that two things seem to be played for me one is, is it possible within an artistic practice

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