(Re)current Unrest

Charles O. Anderson

(Re)current Unrest is an evening length immersive performance installation ‘ritual’ built on the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: “It’s Gonna Rain” (parts 1 and 2), “Come Out” and “Pendulum”. Against a 360 degree multimedia backdrop drawing on symbolic imagery ranging from American patriotic iconography to documentary photos of civil protest, racial violence, and mass incarceration drawn from the centuries long civil rights struggle of non-white/non-male Americans ,(Re)current Unrest explores the kinesthetic state of unrest–the condition of unease, discontent, and social disturbance. This physical state of agitation is kinesthetic metaphor for ‘staying woke.’ To stay woke refers to an intangible level of awareness about community issues and social justice, but the specific meaning changes depending on the speaker.

From Fusebox We all know that to sample is to record something – to select sections and repurpose them for ourselves. But to sample can also mean to “extract” – a forceful, even violent gesture, one we don’t associate with musical mashups. But maybe we should. One of Steve Reich’s early compositions “Come Out,” samples interview tapes of Daniel Hamm, one of six black men, referred to as the Harlem Six, who was falsely accused of murder and brutalized by police in 1964. The work, which helped Reich rise to fame, was praised for its composition and political resonance. But Hamm’s voice, and the historical context of racial injustice, is often lost to the formal innovations of the composition. Using Reich’s music as a starting point, Charles Anderson’s haunting work (Re)Current Unrest draws on a history of black art and protest as well as it’s sampling, portrayal, and erasure. Featuring a multi-generational cast of dancers, the work explores legacy, authorship, and a history of social and political unrest that is still a part of our present.


Integrated Media: Jon Haas and Robert Mallin; Set Design: Iman Corbani; Sound Design: Charles O. Anderson and Benjamin Galvan; Costume Design: Aaron Kubacak and Delena Bradley

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