namesake is my response to the ongoing American crisis of racial inequality and violence. White privilege has a long history; it can be seen in historic lynching photographs that were shared as postcards or saved as souvenirs. This installation uses three historic lynching photographs, coupled with facial recognition technology that searches to recognize members of the lynch mobs—interrupting the impunity bestowed on the participants and spectators. Audio from a recent Unite the Right rally and a 1960’s KKK rally connect the historic mobs to contemporary mobs. A screen in the installation plays YouTube videos made in response to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s recent protests against police brutality in the United States. Using visual media and technology, these white performers create a message that is intended to evoke fear without concern of consequence.
The accompanying books speak to the spectators in the lynching photographs whose privilege grants anonymity: the participants, the bystanders, the witnesses, the racists—they are everything but held accountable. Each book is named after individuals who have evaded conviction in their actions against black Americans. Technology has evolved, but it continues to fail as evidence for marginalized populations.
Through making this work, I started to contemplate the privilege that has been granted to me by the white color of my skin and its physical likeness to that of the lynchers. Understanding that my silence contributes to complacency, I started to ask myself, when does the crowd become a mob and when does an individual get lost in it?