Jonathan Durham: Them That Believe
In Session: July 5, 2011— September 24, 2011

Jonathan Durham will begin work on his project, Them That Believe, as part of Recess’s signature program, Session. Session invites artists to use its public space as studio, exhibition venue and grounds for experimentation. Durham’s project will take place at Recess’s new outpost in Red Hook, Brooklyn, continuing Recess’s ongoing collaboration with Charlotte Kidd and Dustin Yellin from Kid Yellin Studios

Over the course of two months, Durham will generate a series of photos, videos and sculptures that explore a literal translation of belief into radical action.

Three religious “edgeworkers”, people or groups operating on the fringes of their belief system, will inform and guide the work done over the course of the project. Durham will navigate the physical manifestations of the belief systems of Fanny Crosby, a prolific songwriter who penned over 8,000 hymns despite being blind since infancy.; Jim D. Adkisson, an out of work truck driver and former soldier who gunned down a group of his own church members in 2008; and the serpent handlers of Southern Appalachia who repeatedly put themselves in harm’s way with full faith in God’s power to protect them from poisonous snakes.

Visitors to Them That Believe are invited to participate in a series of actions, that engage with the iconography and rituals common to these edgeworkers including dancing alongside projected images of snake handlers, writing and passing notes found in the back of church pews, composing songs and writing out secrets and burning them. This exchange between the artist and visitors will take the form of “Community Potlach,” a kind of semi-destructive import/export zone that allows people to take away or deposit objects and new meaning as desired.
44 photos · 156 views