Institute of Contemporary Arts

Since 2010, Lucas and Rankine have collaboratively developed this ongoing video series of lyrical counter-narratives, addressing notions of a post-racial and multicultural society, played out in contemporary America. In Situations, moving images and stills from archival, televised and surveillance sources are combined and superimposed with staged footage and a voice-over by Rankine that touches upon lived moments of micro- and macro-aggressions occurring throughout the social and political fabric of America. These films offer an alternative voice to the mediatized images of Trayvon Martin, James Craig Anderson and the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, as well as everyday interactions in public spaces. Describing the multi-genre works, Rankine and Lucas state, ‘The videos exist around public experiences in individual lives. These experiences turn into situations that resonate with us, not only as people, but as citizens.’
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. Her most recent play, The White Card, premiered in February 2018 at ArtsEmerson with the American Repertory Theater. Among her numerous awards and honours, Rankine is the recipient of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. In 2016, she co-founded The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII).
 
John Lucas was born and raised in Ohio. He has worked as a documentary photographer for more than 25 years. Lucas has directed and produced several cutting-edge multimedia projects including collaborative work with poet Claudia Rankine. In 2014 he completed his first feature length documentary film The Cooler Bandits, which was awarded best documentary at the 2014 Harlem International Film Festival. His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries both nationally and internationally, including the Brooklyn Museum; Cleveland Museum of Art; REDCAT, Los Angeles; OK Harris, NYC; La Panaderia, Mexico City; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels; and Fieldgate Gallery, London.

The screenings of Situations by poet Claudia Rankine and artist John Lucas is followed by a Q&A with Rankine.