Christopher Paul Jordan and Arnaldo James: In the Interim (Ritual Ground for a Future Black Archive)
Photo: Estelle Maisonett. Courtesy of the artist. Christopher Paul Jordan, Untitled (Study), 2021, acrylic on debris netting, wooden window frame

Christopher Paul Jordan and Arnaldo James: In the Interim (Ritual Ground for a Future Black Archive)

Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Feb 12 - May 15

by Lisa Kinoshita

In their latest collaboration, In the Interim, artists Christopher Paul Jordan (USA) and Arnaldo James (Trinidad and Tobago) cast Black oral tradition as the vehicle for cultural preservation and transference. For the duration of this show at the Frye Art Museum, they invite self-identified Black individuals to enter a soundproof recording booth, called The Interim, to voice their predictions and prognoses for the future. Participants’ stories will be captured inside a digital time capsule and buried in the museum’s grounds, to be revealed 100 years from now. 

With looming crises from the Sixth Extinction to a political system cloven in two, Jordan said, “I am persuaded that although we may not prevent the end of the world, we can be seed bankers for a new beginning. I see Black oral tradition as a form of seed banking with the power to germinate additional worlds, regenerative ecosystems, reciprocal economies across global diasporic communities.” The Interim exists then as not only a repository for nascent hopes awaiting the conditions for propagation but also as an information silo, a receptacle impervious to contamination or hybridization by outside forces including colonialism. 

The artists seek to create an intergenerational call-and-response across the diasporic world through the inclusion of visual components – paintings by Jordan on salvaged windows provide a speculative “window” on the future; photographs by James of Carnival archetypes capture the mystical dimension of embodied performances. James is also planning a performance in his hometown, Port of Spain, that will include a ceremonial activation of the centenary
time capsule, as it begins ticking off the seconds until 2122.

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