City Lights welcomes multi-media conceptual artist, writer and activist John Sims to celebrate the release of his video poem chapbook, A Blazing Grace and the AfroDixieRemixes: The San Francisco Session.
Joined by Terry Blackhawk, Sylvia L. Blalock, Drew Dellinger, and Tongo Eisen-Martin.
The AfroDixie music project confronts the song “Dixie” – the anthem of the Confederacy subversively by remixing, remapping and cross-appropriation with a collection of 14 tracks of Dixie in the many genres of black music: Spiritual, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Funk Calypso, Samba, Soul, R&B, House, Hip Hop. To critically engage this project with both historical and current social- political-cultural themes, the artist has been hosting listening sessions around the country, inviting poets, artists, scholars, activist and community members to respond to the music. This session has visited Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Bowery Poetry Club. Special guest poets/writers and performers in the Bay Area were invited to respond to the various tracks for this performance.
This sound performance is a part of the artist’s 16-year multi-media project, Recoloration Proclamation, a 16-year multimedia project which explores the complexity of identity, cultural appropriation/remixing, white supremacy, visual terrorism in the context of Confederate iconography and African-American culture. This system of works features recolored Confederate flags, a noose hanging installation in Gettysburg, a 13 southern states Confederate flag funeral, videos, site specific performances, a play, a documentary film, the music project AfroDixieRemixes, the annual Burn and Bury Confederate Flag Memorial and most recently the outside performance and Kennedy Museum exhibition of The Proper Way to Hang to a Confederate Flag at Ohio University.
John Sims, a Detroit native, is a multi-media conceptual artist, writer and activist creating projects spanning the areas of installation, text, music, film, performance and large scale activism. His main projects are informed by mathematics, the politics of sacred symbols/anniversaries and the agency of poetry. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNN, NBC News, USA Today, NPR, The Guardian, and more.