A Context for Transcendence
Eastside International (ESXLA)
“When you can express and articulate what’s happening to you, you have a measure of transcendence over it. It gives you speech, it gives you self-definition and when you have self-definition and not defined by the world then you transcend”.
James H. Cone
Christianity and colonialism are often associated because historically, particular readings and imagery from the Bible have been used to affirm ideas of race and slavery. Both promise spiritual, cultural, economic and political liberation while using the bible to historically sanction the withholding of certain theories or recorded events in history, generating ignorance based on preconceptions that are found in values and standards of its Eurocentric leadership.
A Context for Transcendence is a multi-media installation, which explores the closed-door negotiation of cultural values and narratives established by colonial incursion and Eurocentric projections of non-white identity. Using the framework of stained glass windows, which were historically used to illustrate the narratives of the Bible to a largely illiterate populace Christion presents a collage of re-appropriated clips of films with varied patronizing and ethnocentric themes and perspectives. The collage of clips playing simultaneously in the same frame creates a kaleidoscopic effect providing ever-changing perspectives. Dislocating the viewer with an overbalance of incongruent representational imagery that coerces a need and desire to transcend from the pervasive influence of inherited and perceptual identities.
Black Liberation Theology, a theological perspective that can be traced back to the ’60s was adopted among African American seminarians and scholars who asserted that a God who values justice over victimization is on the side of the oppressed (i.e. the poor, the suffering, and the outcast) not the oppressor. Christion asserts that identity like transcendence exists both within and beyond the universe; in it, but not of it; simultaneously pervading it and surpassing it. Transcendence is more than liberation upon death but rather the manifestation of self-definition and self-affirmation in the physical world.
From press release for Eastside International