Musician and visual artist Paul Rucker began making work in 2009 that responded to the history of slavery and its relationship to current American issues about race and equality. This initial effort developed into a large and ongoing body of work, Recapitulation, that The Project Room will be following throughout 2013 and 2014.
First Public Program:
Friday October 11, 6-7pm
Join Paul in a public conversation as he tackles the idea of “empathy” and asks for participation from the audience to help inform this work-in-progress.
Listen to an interview with Paul about this project: Podcast Episode 5
Trained as a classical musician, Paul Rucker combines his unique compositions for cello with video, print, and sculpture to form new ways of thinking about America’s history. Throughout The Project Room’s 2013-2014 theme, “How Are We Remembered?” Paul will blog about his process and host public conversations and workshops at TPR. Stay tuned for exact dates in Fall, 2013. Until then, follow his writing online as he shares the process behind this ambitious and powerful body of work.
About the Project
Recapitulation is a music and visual installation demonstrating the parallels between slavery and the contemporary prison industrial complex through animation, digital stills, sculpture, original music compositions, interactive sound and video. Although “slave” and “convict” are different in name, these labels share similar limitations and expectations. Both have faced exploitation for labor, a loss of rights and disenfranchisement. Currently over 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the U.S.; 40 percent are African Americans, although they comprise only 12 percent of the country’s total population. In Recapitulation, Paul Rucker will respond to the vast numbers affected by both institutions and the disparity in the racial makeup of the prison population.
Recapitulation is presented through different “chapters.” The first, titled Assassin Series, was presented at Gallery 4Culture in Seattle, Washington in Summer, 2013.
About the Artist:
Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who combines media, often integrating live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art. His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impacts, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions surrounding a subject.
Rucker has received numerous grants, awards, and residencies for visual art and music. In 2012, he received an award for Visual Art from the Creative Capital Foundation, a 10-week residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in California, the Conductive Garboil Grant, a Grant for Artists Projects from Artist Trust, and an Artist Project Grant and Gallery Show from 4Culture. Seattle-area organizations that he has received project funding from in the past include: Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Washington State Arts Commission, King County Site Specific, 4Culture, Artist Trust, and Photo Center NW. He has also received funding from the South Carolina Arts Commission.
As a musician and director, Rucker plays in various situations, from solo cellist to leading his LARGE Ensemble of 22 musicians. He was awarded Best Emerging Artist as well as Outside Jazz Ensemble of the Year by Earshot Jazz, and Jazz Artist of the Year by the Seattle Music Awards. Rucker regularly plays as a solo cellist, including past performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and The Stone in New York City. He was invited by legendary filmmaker David Lynch to perform for the opening of Lynch’s film, Inland Empire.
As a public artist, Rucker has created work for the Museum of Flight in Seattle, 4Culture, and the City of Tacoma, WA. Past residencies include Blue Mountain Center, Ucross Foundation, Art OMI, Banff Centre, Pilchuck Glass School, and the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy. In 2011, Rucker was commissioned to create the fine arts poster for Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival in Seattle. Paul is currently the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow at Maryland Institute College of Art.
This work is funded in part by Creative Capital.
Top image: September 15, 1963 Birmingham, Alabama from the Soundless Series by Paul Rucker, 2013
Above image: Proliferations (video still) by Paul Rucker, 2009. “Art can tell stories. For years I would talk about injustice by reciting numbers and statistics. When you say, “We have over 2.3 million people in prison,” it’s a large number to comprehend. Doing research at a prison issues-themed residency at the Blue Mountain Center in New York, I found some maps that I felt could help tell the story. This project shows the proliferation of the US prison system if seen from a celestial point of view. Using different colors to indicate different eras, the viewer can clearly see the astonishing growth of this system over time.”
Timeline: Green Dots: 1778-1900 Yellow Dots: 1901-1940 Orange Dots: 1941-1980 Red Dots: 1981-2005