Inspired by Heather Andrea Williams’ Help Me Find My People: The African-American Search for Family Lost in Slavery, the book and choreography explore the seldom-told American truths of newly freed citizens, using the technology of their day — a newspaper advertisement — to find their family members. The series’ first installment, Post Up, premiered at The Goat Farm Arts Center in 2014. The second installment, Post Up in the House, was presented at the High Museum’s Mi Casa Your Casa installation. LIT Variations #1-11, the third installment, took place at various locations around the city. The fourth installment, POST, will be performed at Fort McPherson, March 9 through 25.
“As I began creating the 4th installment, I knew I wanted to choreograph a unique work on love, reconciliation and continue examining the world where the author Heather Andrea Williams leaves us in Help Me Find My People,” says Lang. “I experimented with generating movement that embraced a codified vocabulary; one that served as a portal to a past informed by a future already written.”
To bring this piece into being, Lang collaborated with visual artists George Long and David Baerwalde, lighting designer Andre Allen and dramaturge Michelle Hite. The work was performed in a dormant chapel in a former confederate military base in an effort to “create a space where we can question the effects of constructed institutions like church and state,” Lang said in a statement.
There are three main elements to this piece, and each of them is an example of how information is translated. By information, I mean learned behavior, knowledge, emotional development, and wisdom.
The encyclopedia pages are from the Colliers 1967 volume I grew up with. I used them to create a collection of random intersections of ideas. The pages are placed next to and on top of each other in no order. The larger orange images were selected, in a stream of consciousness sort of way, from books as we took them apart. The image of the cornfield is an animated element. It refers to a personal narrative from my childhood.
One day at the lake, watching my son dance unfettered, seemingly unaware of what surrounded him, I had a few realizations — this could be the happiest he is in his life. I was also aware that we were watching each other, both interpreting what we observed. The free space that surrounded him became my own archetype or translation of happiness. I am capturing moments in time and creating generations of information, some of which is gained, some lost, and some reconfigured.
We went behind the scenes with artist Georg Long to check The Music Box: Resonant Memory, a project created by New Orleans Airlift in partnership with The Georgia Institute of Technology and artists George Long and Justin Rabideau.
We filmed this video during the production of a documentary-style video about George Long and Jessamine Starr's Good Food Truck, part of the series Creative Juices on ArtsATL.com. Funding for Creative Juices is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners.
Sorts, a part of Flux Projects, is a sequential wheat paste mural + video installation with projections Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings (excluding Thanksgiving night)
November 19 - December 16, 2017
710 Ponce de Leon Avenue adjacent to 8Arm restaurant
Long’s work explores longing and the physical activities that people undertake during periods of transition, loss, and searching. With Sorts, he creates a mental landscape that is a collection of collections, mental debris, emotional sortings, piles of compartmentalizations. Into this setting he imposes figurative phrases as metaphors for the psychological chores we perform. As a dynamic and constantly changing piece, the projections and drawn elements will evolve daily over the course of a month.
Technical direction: Project Awesome Photography: Kevin Brown Video: Justin Newton