denenge

Rapunzel Revisited: AnAfri-Sci-Fi Space Sea Siren Tale, 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work, MCA Chicago, 2006

From curator’s text: Rapunzel Revisited is “a surreal environment where ‘afri-futurism’, the aquatic world, and fairy tales meet, while also subversively flirting with representations of Black femininity, seduction, and repulsion and what constitutes a damsel-in-distress.”

Text from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities is scripted onto the dark walls, the tale of Baucis and its inhabitants who live on stilts, peering at the world below from spyglasses. This separation—for protection, perhaps out of fear, perhaps something wondrous up there in the clouds—between earth and the figure is key; the installation deals in contradictions, welcoming and yet fairly treacherous as jellyfish are beautiful but may harm if you become entangled in their tentacles. There is the push-me-pull-you of navigating life as a Black woman. The pedestal keeps you safe but separate, as the figure peers down at the world below.