Three channel video installation
Full installation duration 10 min.
Performance by: composer/musician Jason Moran
"In Simpson's project--in which one plays chess with oneself--how does one extract oneself from oneself to outwit oneself? Who wins? Technically it would end in a draw and or extend into a Borgesian infinity. How does one become one's own doppelgänger?" -Joan Simonmore
HD video, 6 min. loop, 2 channels
"In Momentum, the camera not only functions as the missing studio mirror for the dancers but also visualizes the memory of the artist behind the camera. Indeed, it documents the artist's perspective in the process of art making, objectively capturing the dancers' waiting and preparation as Simpson corrects the lighting and sets the color balance. Similarly, it reflexively incorporates its own editing, using abrupt cuts and loops to craft a sense of time that makes visible the respective blind spots and circularity of the artist's memory. While Simpson does not physically appear before the camera, the group of nearly two dozen dancers function as a refracted image of her performing self."
"In Momentum, Simpson transforms the memory of a bygone moment into a legible form. Transcribing a historical moment into a communicable experience, she constructs a score- one dancer spins until exhaustion and walks off; a second takes her position and...more
16mm film transferred to DVD
"In creating that split-screen work, Simpson used footage from a promotional film produced by an institute in Wichita, Kansas; there, students with learning and speech disabilities were, presumably, "rehabilitated," which is to say, socialized. On the right side of the screen we see Barbara, a young disabled black woman who has difficulty speaking; on the left side of the screen we see various white women holding children. We hear Barbara in dialogue with a speech therapist; she's claiming or trying to claim her voice and thus her identity. But we don't know what the white women sound like. In the drawings, the actresses are further silenced--they're figures in the silent world of a drawing. But what does it mean to take an actress's voice from her? An actress's voice is her writing, her means of interpretation. What interests Simpson in her drawings is her own interpretation, her line of thought reaching from Barbara, who is...more
6 minute loop, 1 channel
"The solitary image of the black male figure whistling and enveloped by fog appears to be a song of departure from the charnel house of the racial sublime. But this does not mean it will disappear completely, since race and masculinity still have social meaning." -Okwui Enwezormore
duration approximatly 00:02:56 minutes
"In a haunting and elgiac work titled Easy to Remember from 2001, prior to her turn to drawing, Simpson reanimated the jazz ballad of the same name in a film work comprised of fifteen individual singers humming the tune, in unison. Their unison is only approximate as each singer appears as a disembodied mouth, performing the melody while hearing it through headphones. Each mouth represents an individual interpretation, an interior moment of attempted mimicry."
"Easy to Remember was pivotal in Simpson's move in the early 2000s to an investigation of race that was less easily fixed to the identity politics of the 1990s."
Double-projection video installation
running time 00:13:15, sound
"Through a narrative in which action remains relatively static and intrigue is expressed abstractly through the composer John Davis' classical music and jazz sound track, the women's mundane tasks mirror each other, creating a structural parity between the two channels of the installation. Each channel not only reflects the other but also correlates to it: one woman's exit signals the other's entrance, thus making each image dependent upon the other. While the women's homes, dress, and technological access reveal a century's worth of creature-comfort advances, the two scenes emphasize the continuities of their moments over what might be the expected narrative of racial progress in the hundred years following the end of slavery." -Thomas J. Laxmore
31-channel video installation
"In her day-in-the-life portrait of an African-American woman, Simpson uses tropes of cinema, diary, and surveillance. The portrait appears on 31 12-by-9-inch flat video screens arrayed on a gallery wall to resemble a month on a calendar: a row of three screens tops four rows of seven screens. Each video runs about 20 minutes and appears to chronicle the events of a single day; most shots last around five seconds and the streams of imagery are not synchronized, so viewers face a kinetic panorama." -Bill Stametsmore
"Duet is the cinematic expression of the themes of isolationism, escapism and self-effacement addressed in Simpson’s earlier photographic works. In the installation, two images are projected onto a single screen, and the border between the two images becomes an imaginative site for visual and contextual exchange. Scenes of two girls playing a duet on the piano interact with scenes of two women conversing about memory. As the video progresses, subjects disappear into the “no space” gluing the two images together." -The Studio Museum in Harlemmore