The Body of the People is a media performance that interweaves iconic language and visual imagery into a poetic discourse concerning current socio-political disruptions that took place Thursday September 29, 2016, from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Old South Meeting House. Created by multimedia artist and educator Jeffrey Baykal-Rollins, with Rex Cadwallader on piano, vocals by Tiffany Jackson, Arti Dixon on drums, and Mike Asetta on bass, the work draws on protests the artist has participated in and documented to create an immersive artwork that questions individual and class representation in the political upheavals taking place in the United States today.
The Body of the People, curated by Lanfranco Aceti, Director of the Arts Administration Program at Boston University, has been commissioned by The Museum of Contemporary Cuts and premiered at the Old South Meeting House in Boston.
For this work of art, the artist has created a series of drawings of protesters and has compiled slogans, mission statements, and manifestos from the major protest movements in the United States today, including Democracy Spring, Democracy Awakening, and Black Lives Matter. From these documents, Baykal-Rollins has created a surreal and poetic text that was delivered as an address and sung by an opera singer for the duration of the performance.
Mixing drawings, installation, music and performative actions, Baykal-Rollins sets the stage for a re-thinking and analysis of what society means and what ‘the body of the people’ stands for, in a political moment in which larger strata of society are disenfranchised, disconnected and isolated both financially and politically.