The BMA’s new Black Box gallery for light, sound, and moving image works debuts with A Man Screaming is Not a Dancing Bear, a recently acquired11-minute video (2008) set in New Orleans. Alternating footage of an abandoned house ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the seemingly calm wetlands ofthe lower Mississippi River Delta builds a quiet tensionthat is interrupted by images of a resident of the city’s 9th Ward transforming the blinds of the home into apercussive instrument. These haunting scenes evokethe musical traditions of New Orleans, the idea of artisticcreation coming in the aftermath of destruction, and thevisual metaphor of light breaking into the darkness of theabandoned house.
Collaborators Jennifer Allora (American, born 1974) and Guillermo Calzadilla (Cuban, born 1971) have made perseverance and accomplishment in the midst of challenging circumstances the subject of videos, performances, and sculptural installations. They represented the U.S. in the 2011 Venice Biennale.