SHIFT // BABELBirmingham Museum of Art SHIFT residency project
For five months in early 2016, SHIFT occupied the ground floor storefront at 1910 3rd Ave. N in Birmingham’s Theatre and Arts District. A Birmingham Museum of Art initiative, SHIFT was a satellite space that functioned as a platform for conversations around contemporary art and aimed to engage contemporary Birmingham artists in non-traditional ways.
Each month SHIFT invited two people to host, occupy, and activate the satellite space. Hosts included Birmingham-based artists and creatives who worked together to present a project to the public on the last Friday of each month. SHIFT’s collaborative nature encouraged hosts to push outside their creative comfort zone and create opportunities to consider new ideas and concepts that would resound with the larger Birmingham community. SHIFT also included a zine makerspace, stocked with supplies and featuring a selection from the Birmingham Zine Library.
Together with my co-host, improv musician LaDonna Smith, we considered the improvisational and communicative aspects of collaboration and invited members from our respective artistic communities to work with us to present a single-night event that incorporated spoken word, improvisational music, and sound performances within an immersive image installation. In addition to our collaborative efforts, I also created a series of collages created from leftover images and scraps found in the zine makerspace to address the inherent miscues and miscommunication that can occur during creative collaboration.
1. Now the whole world had one language and a common speech... 3 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 4 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 5 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 6 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
– Book of Genesis, Chapter 11