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TED2016

Sanford Biggers: An artist's unflinching look at racial violence

Sanford Biggers: En artists kompromissløse blikk på rasevold

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Konseptuell artist og TED Fellow Sanford Biggers bruker malerier, skulpturer, video og opptredener til å igangsette utfordrende samtaler om historien og traumene til det svarte Amerika. Bli med ham når han forklarer detaljene rundt to av hans utrolige verker og forklarer bakgrunnen for motivasjonen bak kunsten sin. "Bare gjennom mer gjennomtenkt dialog om historie og rase kan vi utvikle oss som individer og samfunn", sier Biggers.

- Conceptual artist
Sanford Biggers creates art that upends traditional narratives about topics ranging from hip hop to Buddhism to American history. Full bio

As a conceptual artist,
Som konseptuell kunstner
00:12
I'm constantly looking for creative ways
to spark challenging conversations.
leter jeg etter den kreative gnisten som
kan skape interessante utvekslinger.
00:14
I do this though painting, sculpture,
video and performance.
Jeg gjør det gjennom billedkunst, skulptur
video og performance.
00:18
But regardless of the format,
Men uavhengig av format
00:22
two of my favorite materials
are history and dialogue.
er historie og dialog to av mine
favorittmaterialer.
00:23
In 2007, I created "Lotus,"
I 2007 skapte jeg "Lotus",
00:27
a seven-and-a-half-foot diameter,
en, i diameter to og en halv meter
00:30
600-pound glass depiction
of a lotus blossom.
og nesten 300 kg tung fremstilling i glass
av en lotusblomst.
00:32
In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol
for transcendence
I buddhismen er lotusen et symbol på
trancendens
00:35
and for purity of mind and spirit.
og renhet i sinn og ånd.
00:39
But a closer look at this lotus
Men et nærmere blikk på min lotusblomst
00:41
reveals each petal
to be the cross-section of a slave ship.
avslører at hvert kronblad er et
tverrsnitt av et slaveskip.
00:44
This iconic diagram was taken
from a British slaving manual
Dette ikoniske diagrammet ble hentet
fra en britisk håndbok i slaveri
00:47
and later used by abolitionists to show
the atrocities of slavery.
og senere brukt av slaverimotstandere
for å vise slaveriets grusomhet.
00:51
In America, we don't like
to talk about slavery,
I USA liker vi ikke å snakke om slaveri,
00:56
nor do we look at it as a global industry.
og vi ser heller ikke på slaveriet
som en global industri.
00:58
But by using this Buddhist symbol,
Men ved å bruke dette buddhistiske symbolet,
01:01
I hope to universalize and transcend
håper jeg å gjøre historien og traumene til
de svartes Amerika universelle
01:03
the history and trauma of black America
og overførbare
01:05
and encourage discussions
about our shared past.
som utgangspunkt for samtaler om vår felles fortid.
01:08
To create "Lotus,"
we carved over 6,000 figures.
I skapelsen av "Lotus"
skar vi ut over 6000 figurer.
01:12
And this later led to a commission
by the City of New York
Og dette ledet senere til en bestilling
fra New York by
01:16
to create a 28-foot version in steel
på å skape en åtte og en halv meter
høy versjon i stål
01:19
as a permanent installation
at the Eagle Academy for Young Men,
som en permanent installasjon
ved Eagle Academy for Young Men,
01:21
a school for black and latino students,
en skole for svarte og latinamerikanske
studenter,
01:24
the two groups most affected
by this history.
de to gruppene som er mest berørt av
denne historien.
01:27
The same two groups are very affected
by a more recent phenomenon,
De samme to gruppene er også dypt berørt
av et nyere fenomen,
01:30
but let me digress.
men la meg forlate temaet litt.
01:33
I've been collecting
wooden African figures
Jeg har samlet afrikanske trefigurer
01:35
from tourist shops and flea markets
around the world.
fra souvenirbutikker og loppemarked
verden rundt.
01:38
The authenticity and origin
of them is completely debatable,
Deres opphav og ekthet kan klart
diskuteres,
01:40
but people believe these
to be imbued with power,
men folk tror at disse er gjennomsyret
av en kraft
01:43
or even magic.
eller til og med magi.
01:46
Only recently have I figured out
how to use this in my own work.
Jeg har ikke funnet noen måte å
bruke dette i mitt eget arbeid før nå.
01:47
(Gun shots)
(Pistolskudd)
01:51
Since 2012, the world has witnessed
the killings of Trayvon Martin,
Siden 2012 har verden vært vitne til
drapene på Trayvon Martin,
02:05
Michael Brown, Eric Garner,
Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice
Michael Brown, Eric Garner,
Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice
02:09
and literally countless other
unarmed black citizens
og bokstavelig talt talløse andre
ubevæpnete svarte innbyggere
02:13
at the hands of the police,
begått av politiet,
02:16
who frequently walk away
with no punishment at all.
som ofte blir løslatt ustraffet.
02:17
In consideration of these victims
Til minne om disse ofrene
02:20
and the several times that even I,
og alle de gangene selv jeg,
02:22
a law-abiding, Ivy League professor,
en lovlydig, Ivy League-professor,
02:24
have been targeted and harassed
at gunpoint by the police.
har blitt siktet på med våpen og krenket
av politiet,
02:27
I created this body of work
simply entitled "BAM."
skapte jeg dette kunstverket
som rett og slett heter "BAM".
02:30
It was important to erase
the identity of each of these figures,
Det var viktig for meg å viske ut
identiteten til disse figurene,
02:36
to make them all look the same
and easier to disregard.
for å gjøre dem alle like ansiktsløse
og lettere å overse.
02:39
To do this, I dip them in a thick,
brown wax
For å oppnå dette dypper jeg dem i en
tykk, brun voks
02:43
before taking them to a shooting range
før jeg tok dem med på skytebanen
02:45
where I re-sculpted them using bullets.
og ga dem ny form med skudd av kuler.
02:47
And it was fun,
Det var gøy
02:51
playing with big guns and
high-speed video cameras.
å leke med store våpen og
videokameraer med rask bildefrekvens.
02:52
But my reverence for these figures
kept me from actually pulling the trigger,
Men min ærbødighet for disse figurene
holdt meg fra avtrekkeren,
02:55
somehow feeling as if I would
be shooting myself.
fordi det på en måte føltes som
om jeg skjøt mot meg selv.
02:58
Finally, my cameraman, Raul,
fired the shots.
Det endte med at kameramannen min,
Raul, fyrte av skuddene.
03:01
I then took the fragments of these
Så tok jeg fragmenter av disse
03:06
and created molds,
and cast them first in wax,
og laget former,
og støpte dem først i voks
03:08
and finally in bronze
like the image you see here,
og til slutt i bronse
som bildet du ser her,
03:12
which bears the marks
of its violent creation
som bærer preg av dets voldelige
tilblivelse
03:15
like battle wounds or scars.
som krigsskader eller arr.
03:18
When I showed this work recently in Miami,
Da jeg nylig viste mitt arbeide i Miami,
03:20
a woman told me she felt
every gun shot to her soul.
sa en kvinne at hun følte hvert skudd
treffe henne i sjelen.
03:22
But she also felt that these artworks
Men hun følte også at disse kunstverkene
03:25
memorialized the victims of these killings
var minner om disse drapsofrene
03:28
as well as other victims of
racial violence throughout US history.
så vel som andre ofre for rasistisk vold
gjennom amerikansk historie.
03:30
But "Lotus" and "BAM" are larger
than just US history.
Men "Lotus" og "BAM" omfatter mer
enn bare amerikansk historie.
03:33
While showing in Berlin last year,
Ved utstillingen i Berlin i fjor,
03:36
a philosophy student asked me
what prompted these recent killings.
spurte en filosofistudent meg hva som
var foranledningen til disse drapene.
03:38
I showed him a photo
of a lynching postcard
Jeg viste ham et bilde av et
postkort av en lynsjing
03:42
from the early 1900s
fra tidlig 1900-tall
03:44
and reminded him that these killings
have been going on for over 500 years.
og minte ham på at disse drapene har
pågått i mer enn 500 år.
03:46
But it's only through questions like his
Men det er bare gjennom spørsmål
som hans
03:51
and more thoughtful dialogue
about history and race
og mer gjennomtenkt dialog
om historie og rase
03:53
can we evolve as individuals and society.
vi kan utvikle oss som individer
og samfunn.
03:56
I hope my artwork creates a safe space
Jeg håper min kunst skaper et trygt rom
03:59
for this type of honest exchange
for denne type ærlig utveksling
04:02
and an opportunity for people
to engage one another
og en mulighet for folk til å engasjere
hverandre
04:05
in real and necessary conversation.
i en virkelig og nødvendig samtale.
04:07
Thank you.
Takk for meg.
04:10
(Applause)
(Applaus)
04:11
Translated by Julie Sikin Jynge
Reviewed by Martin Hassel

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About the speaker:

Sanford Biggers - Conceptual artist
Sanford Biggers creates art that upends traditional narratives about topics ranging from hip hop to Buddhism to American history.

Why you should listen

An LA native working in NYC, Sanford Biggers creates artworks that integrate film, video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music and performance. He intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols. Through a multi-disciplinary formal process and a syncretic creative approach, he makes works that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are conceptual.

The significance of Biggers' work within contemporary society has been celebrated through solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Brooklyn Museum, Sculpture Center and Mass MoCA. He has participated in prestigious residencies and fellowships including: Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California; ARCUS Project Foundation, Ibaraki, Japan; and the Art in General/ Trafo Gallery Eastern European Exchange in Budapest, Hungary. He has been a fellow of the Creative Time Global Residency, the Socrates Sculpture Park Residency, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council World Views AIR Program, the Eyebeam Atelier Teaching Residency, the Studio Museum AIR Program, the P.S. 1 International Studio Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency.

Biggers' installations, videos and performances have appeared in venues worldwide including Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, the Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem, New York and the Yerba Bue a Center for the Arts in San Francisco, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. The artist's works have been included in notable exhibitions such as: Prospect 1 New Orleans Biennial, Illuminations at the Tate Modern, Performa 07 in NY, the Whitney Biennial and Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem. His works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Bronx Museum.

Biggers has won awards including: the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Greenfield Prize, New York City Art Teachers Association Artist-of-the-Year, Creative Time Travel Grant, Creative Capital Project Grant, New York Percent for the Arts Commission, Art Matters Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Award, the Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, the Pennies From Heaven/ New York Community Trust Award, Tanne Foundation Award and Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award Grant.

Biggers is Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Visual Arts program and a board member of Sculpture Center, Soho House and the CUE Foundation. He has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sculpture and Expanded Media program and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University's VES Department in 2009.

More profile about the speaker
Sanford Biggers | Speaker | TED.com