I'd rather the creator (and featured artists) had "tinkered" their way through something else: how to *critically* represent-- rather than reiterate--systemic racism. While the video certainly is "haunting" and "odd," contextualizing this work within further complacent adjectives as "quirky" spooks me almost more than the conspicuous absence of any intended criticality around racism. (There's much more to what's going on and needs to be addressed around race in Durham than our quirkiness, especially at the current moment). So, should we congratulate Nick Sanborn for "taking the opportunity" to literally silence Black voices and co-opt hip-hop and rap platforms for his own artistic purposes? What WERE his artistic intentions in creating this video? James Grebey of Spin Magazine quotes Sanborn as saying "Once I fixated on the idea of making a silent rap video, it kinda haunted me...Ironically, it ended up saying so much.” So, first he was 'fixated,' which to me suggests his original intention arose outside of any rational examination despite the world we live in. Did he just run with that, not stopping for a moment to think about the implications, about WHY he was fixated, or HOW that fixation might be problematic in and of itself? Second, it 'kinda' haunted him? If he's going to take credit for the powerful message--which, if we read it as critical, appears to be at best tentative and accidental-- I want to know that he is more than just 'kinda' haunted. Third, if the video 'ended up' 'striking' him as 'ironic,' am I to understand he didn't really consider intention until after the fact? I'd like to think that every object exerts an equal but opposite force on its maker; here, however, the most meaningful force by far seems to be that which the music video exerted on its maker. That's all fine and good, but it means anything to be appreciated about this music video lies solely outside of the artist. Instead, we can acknowledge the power of even passive reflections to highlight our own problematic impulses. We can acknowledge the power of participatory viewing by recognizing that "Side Rides" reproduces a problematic view *unless* the viewer accepts the burden of criticality--that should IMO belong to the (responsible) artist-- and troubles the video's position. Despite my deep misgivings about Side Rides, I hope that Mr. Sanborn, collaborators, and those who have written about the video are actually more aware and thoughtful than they sound. I agree, this video "[says] so much." But I'm not satisfied with that answer until we hear more from Mr. Sanborn about exactly what he meant to say, what he thinks he ended up saying, and why we should listen rather than shake our heads at a case of unintentional hipster racism. So far, I'm not convinced it says anything new...and I certainly can't locate the irony.
Seamus' last name is misspelled in the Tags.
the slot between two poles...hmm... i will always remember this vivid description of my favorite local band. ha!
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