A pioneer of Conceptual art, Charles Gaines has worked with composer Sean Griffin to translate language from four influential speeches or manifestos into musical notation: Malcolm X’s last public speech, made in 1965 in Detroit’s Ford Auditorium; "Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto" (1999), by Canadian Mohawk scholar and activist Taiaiake Alfred; “Indocumentalismo Manifesto—an Emerging Socio-Political Ideological Identity” (2010), by Raúl Alcaraz and Daniel Carrillo; and the "Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen," written by French activist and writer Olympe De Gouges in 1791.
Using an arbitrary rule-based system translating each letter into its corresponding musical note (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) and treating each letter without a correlating note as a silent musical rest, Gaines has established a relationship between the structures of language and music; "Manifestos 2" explores how the emotive properties of music affect the content of the manifestos and their interpretation.
For the performance, Griffin will conduct a nine-piece ensemble, bringing the scores to life. The performance is followed by a conversation with Gaines and Griffin; Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art; and Naima J. Keith, Assistant Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem.
MoMA is pleased to premiere the live performance of "Charles Gaines’s Manifestos 2" (2013), in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem.