Postcolonial thoughts: Michi Meko’s The job of the resurrectors is to wake up the dead

by Christopher Hutchinson

Michi Meko’s The job of resurrectors is to wake up the dead is the artist’s most recent triumph.  As a participant in Flux 2013, Meko used the opportunity to declare his position atop the list of contemporary American/African American artists in Atlanta.  Meko’s deliberate performance will easily be remembered as the best of 2013 with a couple months to spare.

Meko photo 1“A sound theater of Negro prison work songs will be played to wake up the souls of Negro men that were forced to lay the tracks in and around Atlanta as the re-enslavement of Black Americans increased during the Civil War up to World War II. Most of these free men were imprisoned on bogus charges enforced by Penal Labor/Servitude laws allowing the cycle of supremacy to continue. The inspiration for this sound work came from the pages of Slavery by Another Name written by Atlanta author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Douglas A. Blackmon.”

Performance

Early performance feminist artists like Carolee Schneeman and Yoko Ono employed performance to break from the European institution of the voiceless nude.  With similar stagnation the Black body has been stuck, unable to speak beyond the object/spectacle.  Schneeman merely reacted against the Tradition; she remained tied to that narrative. Meko goes beyond just speaking to create a sound performance that does not allow the Western custom to penetrate.  Meko has complete ownership of his narrative; it is not interested in protesting the West, rather revealing another tradition altogether.  Meko has revealed something that has always been present and regularly dismissed, disqualified as art-ritual.

Meko photo 2

Meko’s family. His mother is the youngest child in front on the right.

 This narrative in sound and action demands an investigation into a rich lineage of rites of passage which Meko receives directly from his bloodline.  It is a direct source, as well as a shared means of access.  Meko includes us in his lineage that allows the viewer to participate in a tangible way, not as romantic spectators.

 Meko photo 3Meko’s wailing sounds envisage a time that is past and present as a continuum.  It was a confrontation with the dead, not just the physicality of death, but also the innate that died to become more academic.  What awakened was the “Id.”

Romanticism

It would be easy to lump these chants into a familiar generalized “tribal.”  Native American chants, African drums, and the familiar “Bass,” that heavy “Bass” which divides the guitar lovers.  When Meko uses these sounds they are not bound by the already generalized “Blackness” that exists.   Viewers had to come to terms with visceral response.  The mind tried to figure out where it was. What was happening?  Why this felt so good? The body didn’t care to reason anymore, it just gave in to Meko’s provocation.  It was transcendence.

Participation

After moving through the crowd and happening on the piece, I saw a little boy doing some contemporary Hip-Hop dance. There was a circle of at least 100 people around him.  This youth captivated the viewers, and then about ten minutes later large Black Male fell on the asphalt motionless. After a while of lying there, “Bass” brought him back to life.  He was re-animated with the prison chants.  He was intense and somber corresponding with the introspective tone of the audio.  The performance had a crescendo into a celebration, where everyone participated.  It could no longer be contained in one cipher, the performance overflowed to another circle completely on its own, organically.  This ceremony went on for hours.

Christopher HutchinsonChristopher Hutchinson is an Assistant Professor of Art at Atlanta Metropolitan State College and Archetype Art Gallery Owner in Atlanta, Ga. He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Savannah College of art & Design, Atlanta and his Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. He lived in Alabama for 10 years before moving to Atlanta in 2008. His installations mostly consist of black folded paper airplanes.

Learn more about Christopher and his work at Black Flight 144.

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Categories: Art, Postcolonial Thoughts, Writing

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2 Comments on “Postcolonial thoughts: Michi Meko’s The job of the resurrectors is to wake up the dead”

  1. December 23, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    あなたのティーンは、学校でもう一年を始めとして、彼または彼女が必要との2つの必需品の良いランチバッグと良いブックバッグですなぜそれが重要であるあなたが選ぶ本バッグやランチバッグを賢くするある範囲のブックバッグやランチバッグは、今日利用できるここでは、あなたはあなたのティーンに適していることの1つを選択するのに役立ついくつかのポインタであるブックバッグまたはあなたのティーンのためのランチバッグを選ぶとき、彼または彼女は大学へはすぐに行くことを心にとめておいてくださいそれで、耐久性は非常に重要な因子であるある本バッグやランチバッグの材料が作ったようなデニールのポリエステルとナイロンを長く着ることができる最後の抽選をとりますこれらのバッグやランチ、キャリアの水により抵抗するので、それは雨や雪で、あなたのティーンの長い新鮮な食事とドライの本はすべての年でありますことができますさらに、これらの袋を再利用して、彼らは環境にやさしいですあなたのティーンの健康を考慮することが重要なポイントとなる本バッグに関しては、あなたの人間工学的で快適なバッグを選ぶ必要がありますいくつかの袋を光合成繊維で作られて、他のパッド入りのストラップと背中を持っているこれらのバックパックを着る掛け布団と移動するのが簡単ですランチバッグ食品を新鮮に保つことを選ぶには、絶縁された昼食バッグを選ぶ必要がありますこれらのランチバッグは、長い時間のために正しい温度に保つ彼らはまた、生鮮食料品のアイテムを寒さと新鮮さを保つジェルパックを冷凍庫に嵌合させることができるまた、本バッグやランチバッグは、あなたのティーンは、より多くの組織であるのを援助しなければなりませんあなたは、バッグのがらくたを無料にしておくことができる複数のポケットを持っている本バッグを見つけることができます内側または外側のジッパーの文房具のようなより小さなアイテムを保持することがで#file_links[D:\yz-cs\Projects\sb\ci.txt,1,N]きるポケットがバッグを選んでくださいランチバッグ、食物の種類のための別々のセクションを持つことができますので、あなたのティーンのサンドイッチ飲料から分離することができますスタイルブックバッグやランチバッグを選ぶとき、心を閉じ込める重要な点であるパターンの範囲があり、色や#file_links[D:\yz-cs\Projects\sb\ci.txt,1,N]デザインが利用できて、あなたの個人の好みに応じて選択することができますこれらの日間あなたは協調的マッチングのランチバッグとバッグのセットを見つけることができます。よく選ばれた場合には、本バッグ、ランチバッグは、快適さ、健康に良い年を確実にします、とスタイルをあなたのティーンのために

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  1. The Latest Creative Thresholds | Melissa D. Johnston - June 19, 2014

    […] Michi Meko. Flux 2013. Atlanta. One heck of a performance. Christopher Hutchinson discusses why it’s so good in “Postcolonial thoughts: Michi Meko’s The job of the resurrectors is to wake up the dead.… […]

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