Movement artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck have teamed up with visual artist Alexa Meade to create a surreal music video in response to the violence in America. The set and dancers are covered in Meade’s trademark 2D-style paint, which she paints on 3-D surfaces in order to create the optical illusion that models and objects are part of a flat painting.
The short film begins with Jon Boogz and Lil Buck sitting in a living room, watching the reports of police shootings and other violence on their television. Distressed by the pervasiveness of the violence, each performer takes a turn expressing his grief and confusion through interpretive dance. According to Meade’s website:
Transfixed by racial, political, and socioeconomic tensions saturating the news, movement artists Jon Boogz and Lil Buck switch off the TV and release their emotions into a stirring dance that is both a lament and a spirited call to action.
In their endeavor to go out into the world and affect a positive change, they discover in a muted urban landscape the barriers which persist in society and the enduring role of artists as misfits. A universal truth rings clear: no one is immune to the injustices of society and only ACTION will pave the way to the perpetuity of art, dialogue, and the possibility of justice.”
The artists’ stirring performance circulates through social media in the midst of the recent police slayings of Terence Crutcher on September 16th and Keith Lamont Scott on September 20th and the ensuing outcry with protestors taking to the streets in Tulsa and Charlotte. Actions in Charlotte have become violent in recent days.
The two shootings serve as bookends to the bombs that went off in the Chelsea district of New York City and Sea Park, New Jersey over the weekend of September 17th-18th. Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was taken into custody after a shootout with police on the 19th in Linden, NJ. Although Rahami has not yet been linked to any organized terrorist groups, authorities do suspect religious extremism was a motive in the bombings.
These bombings come as the U.S. sees a spike in hate crimes, with the year 2015 seeing the most hate crimes towards Muslims and Middle Eastern immigrants since post-9/11 in 2001. In early September, two women wearing traditional Muslim attire and pushing their infants in strollers were attacked by an angry woman yelling hate speech and demanding that they leave the country. Many are citing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s xenophobic campaign rhetoric for the sudden rise in hate crime occurrences. His supporters have turned violent at several of his rallies, even as recently as this month.
Earlier in the month, the indigenous-led Dakota Access Pipeline protests turned violent when private security used dogs and pepper spray on protestors who climbed over fences to block bulldozers from levelling sacred Native American burial grounds. Protests began in April when developers communicated their intentions to build the 1,168-mile pipeline near the reservation of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
It is in the context of all this ethnically- and religiously-motivated violence that Color of Reality makes its way to the American viewer. Many of us see the violence unfolding around us with a mixture of feelings. Anger. Fear. Grief. Confusion. Helplessness. Some of us want to help, but are unsure what to do. Others are afraid of getting arrested or hurt. And some simply don’t believe that anything can be done to change things. All of these responses can be perceived in the story of Color of Reality.
Director and choreographer Jon Boogz had this to say of the project:
My inspiration behind the “Color of Reality” short film was simply to heighten awareness about some of the critical issues we are facing as a society. The artistic direction behind a lot of the projects I direct have that purpose. I feel like there are a lot of negative things happening in our world. If we as a human race could unite together as one and stop judging each other off skin color or sexual orientation this world would be a much better place. I use movement art to turn these tough conversations into beautiful messages of hope for all of us. Combining the storytelling of movement with the 2D style Alexa brings to the table is what I hope is a compelling way to spark constructive dialogue. I knew if this was done right it would really hit home in a powerful way, but be abstract enough to allow each individual to develop their own opinion and takeaway.”
She graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a Creative Writing minor. She currently resides on Planet Earth, and therefore has a vested interest in the goings-on and goings-to-be around the place.
She's also really friendly, so feel free to drop a line: Jacquelyn@radicallyenlightened.com.
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