Accumulated Affects of Migration
Kavi Gupta CHICAGO | BERLIN is pleased to announce an exhibition by Theaster Gates entitled Accumulated Affects of Migration. This exhibition marks an expansion on Gate's Documenta 13 project in 2012, 12 Ballads for the Huguenot House, in which raw material from a house at 6901 S. Dorchester in Chicago's Grand Crossing neighborhood was shipped to Kassel, Germany, and used to mend and partially repair a historic building known as the Huguenot House. The project resulted in a poetic exchange of community, music and architectural transformation. During its restoration the Huguenot House was home to carpenters and students, a core of whom originated from the artist's native Chicago and traveled with the artist to Germany. As Gates and his team merged one historical building with the other, they formed both functional objects and aesthetic compositions with the materials that emerged from the repair. The resulting objects play tribute to the marriage of the two original structures they derived from as well as serve as ephemeral documentations of the performances and interventions that activated the Huguenot House while Gates and his team inhabited the building.
Accumulated Affects of Migration shares its title with the series of performances Theaster Gates presented with his exhibition 13th Ballad, currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, an exhibition which jointly acts as an extension of the Documenta 13 project. Performance and song were at the core of 12 Ballads for the Huguenot House. During demolition of 6901 S. Dorchester, Gates, and his collaborative performance group The Black Monks of Mississippi, recorded a series of twelve songs in the south side Chicago building. These songs would become the 12 Ballads and were screened through out the Huguenot House during the run of the project. The 12 Ballads were accompanied in Kassel with a series of live performances by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, a component to the project that created a community out of the students, carpenters and locals whom gathered at the Huguenot House. A major focus of Accumulated Affects of Migration lies on the objects which were part of these performances, such as the stage the performers used as well as Fire Access Stairs (2012), a row of stairs that served as sitting bleachers for viewers to projections of the 12 Ballads. As the original material from 6901 S. Dorchester was shipped abroad, repurposed, merged with the Huguenot House, engaged and activated, then shipped back to Chicago, it has transformed in relation to the many contexts it has been placed within, drawing focus on the affects history plays on material as well as how this material influences its surroundings.