Rashaad Newsome presents “Shade Compositions,” a live performance featuring a a chorus of more than twenty black women. Influenced by improvisatory orchestral music and live video-mixing, Newsome divides his performers into groups akin to instrumental sections as they enact his choreographed sound score made up of repeated sequences of culturally specific or stereotypical gestures, movements, and vocalizations. Newsome simultaneously records, loops, edits, and remixes in real-time the audio and video documentation of the performers using a hacked Nintendo® Wii™ game controller. The resulting layers of real and projected imagery investigate assumptions and constructions of identity in mainstream media and popular culture.
“Shade Compositions” is an ongoing performance series that, depending on the nature of the space, uses a variable number of black females who perform choreographed dismissive actions that are often characterized as “ghetto” in order to create an orchestra of rhythmic compositions. Using an instrument created with Max MSP technology, a crescendo of aggravated music is built up by the artist editing the beats created live by the girls, thus making each a one-of-a-kind performance.
This is featured at PS1 right now. I was watching it for about five minutes when Eric comes up and goes, “Is this… black women being sassy?”
2. The woman far stage right.
3. HACKED WIIMOTE
4. Their commitment to staying in-character.