Ayo Janeen Jackson (New York, NY)
October 2016. Publication documentation. Durational performance, florescent black light paint, museum collection tables and chairs.

In Black Lights Matter, Jackson aims to grant agency to her own black, female body utilizing techniques inspired by Yves Klein’s use of the human body as a primary medium. Jackson coated her body in black-light paint and applied impressions of her figure onto chairs and tables in Elsewhere’s common space where visitors use a black-light flash light to uncover these “bodies.” This uncovering relegates power to the black-light being used and exposes narratives not seen by the naked eye.

In addition to Klein’s work, Jackson also uses inspiration found in her own historical research contextualizing the formation of current social climates pertaining to race; this includes contemporary cases of police brutality and slave narratives detailing the methods used to free themselves. Specifically, Black Lights Matter is a direct response to the contrast in Dr. Joy DeGruy’s Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, the theory of cognitive dissonance, and Christian attitudes towards black and brown bodies.

Photo credit: Luke Hodges

Photo credit: Luke Hodges