Ah New Riddim
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space
Aug. 4, 2023 - Sep. 16, 2023
Ah New Riddim (2023) is the third and final iteration of the multimedia series Constructs and Context Relativity (2019-2023) by interdisciplinary artist Christie Neptune. The installation and interactive documentary examines the spatial-temporal relationship of memory and place embedded within the implosion of dancehall culture in East Flatbush. The film utilizes 80’s dancehall archival footage, the quiet of black subjectivity, and concentric interactive storytelling to expound the relationship between black globality and dancehall in the American urban. In a pivot around her embodied experience as a black Caribbean American, Neptune considers the potential of black popular culture in marking space. Can the axiologies and stories oscillating at the margins mark the discourse of Western logic positioned at the center, and how might this marking register in visual representations of the urban?
In Ah New Riddim, concentric storytelling registers a cacophony of black perspectives. Neptune’s subjective experience in the American urban and the migration stories of community members in East Flatbush pivot around dancehall home video of Neptune’s father. Research, writing, and art produced from this series work to frame an artistic intelligence around Marked Axiological Shifts, a concept introduced by Neptune in a recent essay that defines a new language in visual culture grounded in African world-making cosmologies.
Marked Axiological Shifts are nonlinear and interactive artistic approaches that register a perpetual reimagining of black futures across space and time. It marks the decorum of modern cinema and visual culture with the conventions of African temporality to foster multiple planes of perspectives and fields of movement within concentric forward moving narratives mapped across moving images, sculpture, performance art, and print. In this exhibition, six channels of video interface with scaffolded speakers made of mirror, LED monitors, and wood. The speakers, a re-articulation of the Caribbean Sound System tradition, add further nuance to the filmic encounter in space. As material, screen, haptic surface, and sculptural unit, the sound system transmits information that doubles the spectator’s spatial perception. Upon contact, the spectator experiences temporal disjuncture caused by the collapse of their point of view, embodied form, and projected media upon the unit’s reflective surface. The gesture fosters multiple fields of viewing within a single expressive form, an element integral to African frameworks of temporality.
Ah New Riddim demonstrates the potential of black popular culture within representational practices that speaks across both dominant and marginal spatialities. This new framework of understanding considers the agency of marked axiological shifts within discursive urban space, an intervention that superimposes a wide aperture of black subjectivity(s) upon the narrow plane of the American urban.
Christie Neptune lives in Brooklyn, New York. She received her M.S. in Art, Culture, and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and B.A. in Visual Arts from Fordham University. Neptune’s work has been exhibited at venues including: Gagosian, New York; We Buy Gold, New York; Martos Gallery, New York; Tilton Gallery, New York; Vox Populi, Philadelphia; the Bronx Museum of the Arts; and the Queens Museum, amongst others. Her work is in the collection of the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts. In 2021, she was awarded the Prix Medeos in connection with Grant Wahlquist gallery’s presentation of her work at Art-o-rama, Marseille. Her work has been widely discussed in publications such as 4 Columns, Artforum, Hyperallergic, the New York Times, Vogue, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Her numerous awards and residencies include Cornell University’s \Art Award, LES Studio Program at Artists Alliance Inc, Light Work Artist-in-Residence, NYFA Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Arts, Smack Mellon Studio Residency, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Fellowship, among others.
This project is made possible with support from Foundation of Contemporary Art, MIT Council of the Arts, MIT Art, Culture, and Technology program, Lower East Side Partnership, Abrons Arts Center, Wave Hill, Cecile Chong, Emily B. Yang, Tariku Shiferaw, Larry Cook, Ayesha Charles, Jenna Charles, Terence Washington, David Freedman, Claire Watson, Mike Tan, Jodi Waynberg, Micaela Martegani, Jeff Swinton, Carl Hazelwood, Aisha White, Milk Spawn, Cari Sarel, Vivian Chui, Paul So, Camilo Alvarez, Kelsey Scott, Mike Brown, Darla Migan and Mary Lee Hodgens.