July 19–October 22, 2006
StudioSound: THE BLACK ATLANTIC PROJECT is an innovative collaborative music project in which DJs in the United States, Britain and France have remixed one another’s works and passed them on like a hip–hop chain letter. London–based sound artist, DJ, and writer Charlie Dark who conceptualized the project started it with Naima’s Theme, the original track he composed for his newborn daughter. Dark sent his track, along with a personal “audio letter,” to Djinji Brown, a musician and DJ based in Miami, for remixing and reinterpretation. Brown then passed his new piece and a new audio letter to vocalist Netsayi in Bristol. From there, the project went on, like a surprising, inspired game of sonic telephone, to DJ King Britt in Philadelphia, musician Atjazz (Martin Iveson) in Derby, American producer and MC Mike Ladd in Paris, and innovative Brit–hop and soul producer Dobie (Tony Campbell) in London, before returning to Dark for the final remix. Inflected with beats and vocals from both sides of the Atlantic, this installation is the debut of each artist’s mix, individual voice letter and the final remix mastered by Charlie Dark.
The title of this project comes from The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double–Consciousness, an analysis of the African diaspora by London School of Economics cultural theorist Paul Gilroy. In his book, Gilroy describes a black culture that is not African, American, British, or Caribbean, but a mash–up of all four that he calls the “black Atlantic.” This shared culture, to some extent precipitated by the Atlantic slave trade, provides the background, intellectual foundation, and cultural milieu for THE BLACK ATLANTIC PROJECT, a living, pulsating representation of the culture Gilroy analyzed. And although hip–hop was born in the Bronx, it has a global presence that makes it the perfect medium for an artistic discussion of “black Atlantic” culture.
StudioSound: THE BLACK ATLANTIC PROJECT is organized by The British Council, USA and presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem as part of StudioSound. Special thanks to Andrew Missingham. The Black Atlantic word mark was conceived and generously donated by Map, NYC.