This black-and-white mural shows a blueprint of Skyrise for Harlem, Buckminster Fuller's visionary, unrealized Harlem redevelopment project, described by June Jordan in the April 1965 issue of Esquire.
Against this backdrop and within this utopian architectural framework, the performance cites Jordan’s words, which she had to write under her white husband’s name (June Meyer) and under the title ‘Instant Slum Clearance’:
“Following the Harlem riots of 1964 a profusion of remedies for what was at last accepted as a critical situation appeared everywhere; nowhere, however, was environmental redesign given prime emphasis. Yet it is architecture, conceived of in its fullest meaning as the creation of environment, which may actually determine the pace, pattern and quality of living experience. ... If man is to have not only a future but a destiny, it must be consciously and deliberately designed.”
The performance transforms the photograph into a historical document that literally ‘comes alive’ and highlights how history can be performed at will, invoking official news events from the mid-sixties, such as the deadly shooting of Malcolm X in New York City, the ‘Bloody Sunday’ civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and Muhammad Ali’s first-round knock-out of Sonny Liston in their heavyweight title fight.
This black-and-white mural shows two pages from the California section of the 1963-64 international edition of the Travelers’ Green Book, featuring safe accommodations and services “for vacation without aggravation”.
Against this backdrop of listings, the performance cites the Green Book’s mission statement in words that attest to and celebrate its historical importance:
“In 1947 the Green Book, originally known as The Negro Motorist Green Book, A Classified Motorist and Tourist Guide, included listings covering the United States and Alaska. In 1949 it expanded its listings to Bermuda, Mexico and Canada. Today with listings in South America and the West Indies and future plans for European and West African circulation, it has truly become an international travel guide. ... In looking ahead... a trip to the moon? Who knows? It may not be so impossible as it sounds. A New York scientist is already offering for sale pieces of real estate on the moon. When travel of this kind becomes available, you can be sure your Green Book will have the recommended listings!”
The performance transforms the photograph into a historical document that literally ‘comes alive’ and highlights how history can be performed at will, invoking official news events from the mid-sixties, such as the largest teach-in against the Vietnam War at the University of California Berkeley, the first American space walk (by Ed White, during the Gemini 4 mission), and the devastation of a week-long race riot in Watts, Los Angeles.