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Tony Cokes: Music, Text, Politics

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona

October 23, 2020 – February 7, 2021

By inventing a new style of ‘video essay’, manifesting, quite literally, essays on video, these works offer radical new ways to tell stories, understand images and experience sound. They give us the opportunity to observe our emotional response to these elements. Thus Cokes’ works have been characterised as ‘ideas you can dance to’. Cokes considers himself an editor or a mixer, and works collectively with technicians, musicians, art/theory groups, etc. exploring the concept of dub (to double), both as content (the musical genre) and as method. His practice is aligned with appropriation: sampling, dubbing and remixing, like a DJ. He forces us to re-hear, re-see and re-think the stream of information that we receive across the screens, pages and public and private spaces, in the era of fake news, post-truth and alternative facts.,  

By inventing a new style of ‘video essay’, manifesting, quite literally, essays on video, these works offer radical new ways to tell stories, understand images and experience sound. They give us the opportunity to observe our emotional response to these elements. Thus Cokes’ works have been characterised as ‘ideas you can dance to’. Cokes considers himself an editor or a mixer, and works collectively with technicians, musicians, art/theory groups, etc. exploring the concept of dub (to double), both as content (the musical genre) and as method. His practice is aligned with appropriation: sampling, dubbing and remixing, like a DJ. He forces us to re-hear, re-see and re-think the stream of information that we receive across the screens, pages and public and private spaces, in the era of fake news, post-truth and alternative facts.

 

His works have explored minimal techno, black cultural heritage and the diaspora (in Mikrohaus… Mikrohaus, or the black atlantic?, 2006–08); pop culture and celebrity (in Face Value, 2015); the use of music as a form of torture in the ‘war on terror’ during the Bush administration (The Evil Series); and, more recently, addressing the political resonance of Aretha Franklin and her participation in the Civil Rights movement, from the perspective of the Black Lives Matter movement. MACBA will show key works corresponding to these three stages of Cokes’ production (encompassing early work, monochrome videos and more recent pieces), in an audiovisual exhibition that will dialogue with different spaces within the museum. It will take place from October 2020 to February 2021.

 

For more information please visit the MACBA website.

 

Above: Tony Cokes, Installation view, Della's House, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, 2019. Courtesy the artist, Greene Naftali, New York, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York. Photo: Elon Schoenholz

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