Part II: John Lewis “Testament B” (“2GTHR U CN RDM TH SL OF TH NATN”), (2021), Music: Huey Lewis Dub by Deadbeat (Blikartz)
"I imagined that another, more socially focused, collaborative approach to activism might be marked by the history and words of the recently deceased American, Rep. John Lewis. I was drawn to a fragment of the posthumous essay that he wrote for The New York Times examining linkages between his political history and the recent Black Lives Matter movement, and the deaths of too many Black people by police violence. While developing the text animation my friend Deadbeat released a engaging, churning slab of dub techno featuring a vocal recording of Lewis examining his activist trajectory from a different time and perspective. The doubling and echoes between Lewis’ voice and text reverberated very deeply for me." - Tony Cokes
Scott Monteith, founder and musician of the label BLKRTZ tells us about his track Huey Lewis Dub and his collaboration for Tony Coke's "Testament B” with CIRCA, January 28th, 2021
"Electronic music more often than not gets tagged with the badge of being the politically empty soundtrack to vapid late night hedonism, providing little more to the social discourse than a momentary escape from the daily grind. Anyone who has lived and breathed dance music culutre over the last 20 years as I and Tony Cokes have done would beg to differ. By their very nature, clubs and dance music venues are critical venues for political discourse, and incubators for inclusive discussion across all lines of division, be they based on race, gender, sexualilty, or economic hardship. In the dark, enveloped in music, we are all the same. In the middle of last year I like many others binge watched Ken Burn's Viet Nam War series when it appeared on Netflixed and was struck by a section of the serie's comments of how the Huey helicpoter changed the face of that terrible war. After some extensive online digging I found a recording of a Huey taking off and landing and knew I wanted to use the recording in a new piece. Around the same time the late great Senator John Lewis lost his battle with cancer, and I was struck by the realization that in fact, the methods championed by he and Martin Luther King among others, of peaceful civil disobbedience, in the end had a much larger impact on the social and politcal realities of the United States than even the mightiest fleet of Huey Helicopters could ever hope for. Huey Lewis Dub was released the night before the elecection because I felt a burning need to contribute to the public discourse, to juxtaposethese these two path ways of peace and disctruction, and encourage my American friends to utilize their constitutional election rights which Senator John Lewis fought so galantly for to remove the most dangerous man who has ever held the role of president from office. Though I would never be so bold as to assume this small action had an impact, the fact that this song inspired my dear friend Tony Cokes to include it in his own revolutionary work confirms for me the power of the collective spirit, that if we work together we can manifest the change we so deeply need, and the crucial role we as artists play in saying the things in times of trouble that urgently need to be said. It is my great pleasure to be part of this project with Tony and and my great hope that the music and words of Senator Lewis which make up my humble contribution to it serve as a vehicle of hope and inspiration for all who witness it. May we all move our feet."
Question 5: Adrienne Edwards x Tony Cokes discuss Part II: John Lewis “Testament B” (“2GTHR U CN RDM TH SL OF TH NATN”), (2021), Music: Huey Lewis Dub by Deadbeat (Blikartz)
Adrienne Edwards is a New York-based curator, scholar, and writer. Edwards is currently the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Edwards curated performance commissions at Performa from 2010 to 2018. Prior to moving to the Whitney in 2018, Edwards worked as curator at large at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She held that position since 2016. As of 2018 Edwards, was a Performance Studies Ph.D. student at N.Y.U. In 2016, Edwards curated a show “Blackness in Abstraction,” at Pace Gallery. In 2019, Edwards with Danielle A. Jackson curated an exhibition at the Whitney: “Jason Moran” the first museum survey devoted to the MacArthur-winning pianist and conceptualist.