Ritual- A Tribute For The Innumerable Voids
3pm-4pm, CUNY York College, Queens, NY, April 21st, 2018.
The ritual, A Tribute For the Innumerable Voids, is a remembrance of people and a prayer for the bodies that may lie beneath my feet everywhere I step. It is also a meditation on the healing of generational trauma. This ritual responds to the abandonment experienced by Methodist Cemetery, located on York College campus and takes place in front of the artwork Innumerable Voids III (Apex). The neglect causes me to reflect on land, bodies, and spirit realm. I then contemplate how society remembers people, how it treats living and dead bodies, and what gets done with bodies at death. I learned from a cemetery historian in Queens that somewhere nearby, on Rockaway Blvd, is a forgotten and unmarked African American cemetery. This unmarked cemetery forces me to think of the countless voids there must be everywhere, and the ever present unrecognized indigenous presence. The bodies buried within abandoned Methodist Cemetery are privileged enough to have markers. Methodist Cemetery makes me aware of innumerable voids- the unmarked bodies, that are the ones I give tribute to through my ritual.
The ritual begins with long lines drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. Interstice, an artwork created for the ritual, gets placed between the drawn lines aligned with the cardinal directions. Sage, a tambourine, maracas, a güirro, and symbolic movements compose the ritual. A poem becomes the prayer for the innumerable voids. The final act involves an offering of bird seeds spread in the four directions.
Commissioned by No Longer Empty Curatorial Lab
Video and Editing by Connie Chavez
Photography by Ian Douglas