Derrick Adams, Don’t Shoot the Messenger Garvey, 2012.

Derrick Adams Artist Experiment: The Institution of Me

Performa Hub, 13 Crosby Street MAP
Free with RSVP

The Institution of Me is a live art installation comprised of three performances and the process of realizing them. Over the course of three evenings, Adams creates enlarged, projected silhouettes of Jamaican Pan-Africanist leader Marcus Garvey, Martinican folk hero Robert Saint Rose, and Nigerian political activist and Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti as a means of exploring and developing a personal conversation between the past and the present, and as a conceptual engagement between the artist in relation to their unique historical positions and continued social and political importance.

The source material for the performances is derived from archival images and films of Adams’ interlocutors, which are used to cast shadows within which the artist performs an interpretation of the source image. The strategies employed are improvisational, and incorporate sound, movement, and text. The performances are not literal reenactments of these historical and folkloric figures but rather channel their essence and intentions so that we might think their significance in an entirely new, dynamic, and whimsical way.

The new piece is inspired by Adams’ previous exploration of artists who have influenced his work, including Adrian Piper, David Hammons, Bruce Nauman, Joseph Beuys, and Jim Henson. The point of departure for this new collection of work is the Performa Institute’s February 2013 conference Get Ready for the Marvelous: Black Surrealism in Dakar, Fort-de-France, Havana, Johannesburg, New York City, Paris, Port-au-Prince, 1932-2013, a groundbreaking event that explored historical Surrealism in the African Diaspora and its relevance to contemporary art.


The performances are scheduled as follows:
November 18th - The Institution of Me: Marcus Garvey
November 19th - The Institution of Me: Robert St. Rose (Zétwal) 
November 20th - The Institution of Me: Fela Kuti