Wednesday, July 8, at midnight, Light Work’s Urban Video Project installation, In Solidarity, will go dark to make way for a long-awaited upgrade of their projection equipment. The culmination of years of fundraising and planning, the upgrade will make it possible for Urban Video Project to continue their mission to present urgent, thought-provoking work of media artists from around the world at their outdoor projection site at the Everson Museum of Art. With the contributions of Black photographers and photojournalist allies, UVP’s act of solidarity has appeared each night for more than three weeks, offering viewers on the plaza an opportunity to witness the passions, frustrations, and determination driving the protest movement in Syracuse, New York. We extend our appreciation to the many photographers and artists who made images of the marches, rallies, and actions organized by Last Chance For Change, Raha Syracuse and YouthCuseBLM. The photographs and labor of Cheriyln Beckles, Mylz Blake, Kollina Dacko, Dennis Fernando, Eric Derachio Jackson Jr., and Maranie Staab chronicled the protesters’ unwavering commitment to condemn and root out police violence, systemic racism, and state-sanctioned violence.
Those who journeyed to the museum’s plaza provided powerful feedback that reaffirms art as an indomitable tool in challenging injustice and inequity. “We appreciate the work of the photographers covering the movement in Syracuse and the Urban Video Project’s willingness to have a solidarity display,” said Rannette Releford, director of Syracuse’s the Citizen Review Board (CRB), which hears complaints about police misconduct. “This was a perfect example of how important this movement is to our community and the choices an organization can make to show support. We appreciate being showcased in the ‘In Solidarity’ installation because accountability and transparency are necessary to improve relations. You cannot have one without the other, and for far too long, neither has been a top priority to the Syracuse Police Department.”
Having visited the exhibition on numerous occasions for documentation purposes, UVP communications coordinator Cjala Surratt said she was struck by the installation’s ability to create space to empathize and mourn in a large public site. “It’s quiet there,” said Surratt. “The rhythmic sounds of the fountain encourage introspection and stillness. There I had permission, one I had not extended myself before to grieve. To grieve with the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, and Tony McDad, and with so many others in America’s Black communities, who have suffered devastating losses and live in fear because of racism, violence, and injustice.”
At the launch of this collaborative project, UVP director Anneka Herre spoke of the location’s importance. “It is not a coincidence that UVP’s Everson Museum site is proximate to where many of the protests are happening along the downtown law enforcement and legal corridor. This corridor of civic buildings was created through an urban renewal program that displaced a population of Black citizens who are also disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system. It is incumbent upon us to use this site in ways that amplify the voices of those who are doing the difficult work of making change and to add our own voice to that call.”
Urban Video Project again extends our gratitude to everyone who stood in the presence of this installation, either in solitude or gathered in small numbers, to consider the reckoning that is now underway in our city, state, and nation.
We are excited to announce In Solidarity will be part of Light Work’s 2020-21 exhibition calendar for those who did not get the opportunity to see the installation in person at the plaza. This body of work will be on view in the Hallway Gallery at Light Work later this fall. Keep an eye on our website and social media platforms for updates regarding online programming running in conjunction with these forthcoming exhibitions. The show will run concurrently with Matthew Connor’s exhibition in Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery. Please be aware at this time that we have temporarily closed Light Work to the public and canceled all scheduled opening receptions and artist talks as part of our commitment to helping flatten the COVID-19 curve. We encourage you to visit Light Work exhibitions online.
Urban Video Project (UVP) is a program of Light Work in partnership with the Everson Museum of Art and Onondaga County. This outdoor architectural projection site offers public presentation of film, video, and moving image arts, using cutting-edge technology to bring art of the highest caliber to Syracuse. It is one of the few projects in the United States dedicated to ongoing public projections and adds a new chapter to Central New York’s legacy as a major birthplace of video art.
Using a large permanently installed projector and all-weather sound system, UVP’s outdoor architectural projection site on the north façade of the Everson Museum of Art transforms the adjoining Onondaga County Community Plaza into a massive, year-round video installation every Thursday through Saturday night.