JAMIKA NOTES: I wanted to experiment with replicating the series of posters that announced their (Warhol and Basquiat’s) exhibition together, just because I always have. It has something to do with the fact that I felt as if Basquiat could have been a big brother. I identify with his work and the codes within his work. Also, I guess I was always attracted to that relationship, which somehow verged on queer…. but there was a dissonance also there… something fabricated.. something evidently unreal. I was wondering how much say he (Basquiat) had in the whole boxing gimmick/ spectacle.
Whose idea was it anyway? Looking at the photos of the first shoot I questioned what it was I wanted to do— was it simply a replication of a replication? I wanted to “channel” Basquiat differently. After the first shoot I changed my costume to include a blue leather 70/80’s style jacket. I thought it reflected a personality that I saw in him, that I identified with.
I think we somehow subvert the fact that the original poster was an ad/promotion for an exhibition —- what we have done is a piece for an exhibition. In a way we are doing promo of our work inside of the context of an exhibition— exhibiting the work while subverting the original, queer-ring it up. The fact that I suggested the idea of this photo shoot to Marion gives me an agency within the work. I place myself in the frame, choose what I want to wear— and she and I are interacting with a different purpose in mind. We are both aware of playing with “skin color” and the tenuous subject of “blackness” “whiteness”. Self consciously so. ALSO that it began and progressed in a way that had us chasing a simulacrum- making a simulacra of a simulacra. At which point does the copy become its own different “original” idea or take on an idea? It is not only a work in progress but a work in progressions.
MARION NOTES: I have met Jamika through a film project I was working on. I was trying to make a film “about”* Harriet Tubman** from a “Critical White” perspective … this problematic undertaking has soon changed into a process of not-speaking “about” Harriet Tubman but rather speaking about my mistakes and dead ends while trying to find a “Critical White” position. Jamika has been working for many years with the figure of Harriet Tubman in her own work. She agreed to work with me - her critique and her knowledge has lead to a filmic encounter where Jamika speaks about her relationship to Harriet Tubman, her legacy and how Harriet Tubman appears in her artistic work today. This kind of “portrait” is still developing.
Along the way, Jamika has asked me to pose as Warhol with boxing gloves. Re-stage the photo where Warhol gets bashed? Suits me! - I said. … I have never been a Warhol fan, but I liked his films a lot - the Queer silver world they had created together. … I thought of a lesbian Warhol persona; an uptight mixture of Valerie Solanas and the aging super-star-artist-vampire without his wig. I made myself a “SCUM-Manifesto” T-shirt, but the turtleneck worked better in the end, for me and him, I guess. Warhol, this pale icon of the Western art world. - What has changed since 1985? How does this “White” cube look today and what is happening in it? What are our bodies speaking of today? And what is my personal responsibility within this cube, being part of it and reproducing it? Our dialogue around these images has just begun -