“The intense fervor of each runner is the focal point of this performance video.”
Beginning in 2002, I embarked on a series of videos called the Inertia Cycle. These videos explore physicality and intense exertion as relating to the black body. As a society, we admire athletics. We revel in watching athletes push their bodies to their limits. In the Inertia Cycle I portray the theatrics of physical labor.
For Relay, my most recent installment in this series, I envision a continuum of runners in this creative look into physical exertion. In a time when hard work has become a prerequisite for progress, this video shows a group of performers heroically pushing their bodies as far as they can go. Instead of athletes, everyday people will power through Minneapolis streets. I present close-up moving portraits; the imagery follows the progression of people striving toward an unknown goal. The intense fervor of each runner is the focal point of this performance video. A prominent and literal display of laborious effort, Relay references a team of performers working together to win, to move forward. But there is no finish line, there is no winner, just figures working through exhaustion, passing the baton from one person to the next. The audience sees a powerful vantage point of labor.
Cameraman: Paul Deuth.
For more information, read Michèle Steinwald’s essay here.