Almost two years after the last BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! concert, the series launched again on Saturday night at the newly renamed Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park. As if renaming the bandshell in honor of the great singer-actress-activist Lena Horne weren’t special enough, headliner Ari Lennox surprised fans with superstar rapper J. Cole, performing his verse on her hit “Shea Butter Baby” — which sent the capacity crowd into a frenzy.
“Zhang is interested in the place of politics in individuals’ lives – the uneventful, domestic and secular sides of politics,” writes independent curator Zoe Meng Jiang, “...the essay films of Zhang show how the personal lives of his generation are hypermediated by politics. It is a generation growing up in between the two cold wars, and left in the discrepancies between socialism and capitalism, and between nationalism and globalization. Filmmaking is a way to retrieve personal memories from grand narratives (The First Line of China); or to create communal memories when the condition for collective actions is forfeited (Wander).
“Looking at these films and the oeuvre they attest to, we find time and again the same desire to uncover powerful contemporary strategies, writes curator Caroline Ferreira on Elizabeth Orr’s work, “...shot in 2021 in the middle of a global pandemic, (Mind Gamed) immediately evokes that other invisible monster which has taken over the planet since the beginning of 2020 — that other foreign body which has come to contaminate healthy bodies.”
Reflecting on Center is not a particular point on earth independent curator Banyi Huang writes, "As ‘aliens’ whose survival is dependent on the endless demonstration of their distinction, immigrant artists and art workers are often propelled by linear vision,attachment to authorship, and even obsessive-compulsive control over one’s narrative. Therefore, these long, patient shots that fully reveal space and its inhabitants push back against hyperactivity, our limited understanding of productivity, and social constraints--they force me, the viewer, to detect small details, and be confronted with the relationship between space and place, the body and identity."