Black culture is dispersed throughout the modern world and is consistently co-opted, often without an inclination or reference to its origins. In recent history there has been global pressure for former western colonial states to return artifacts and other material culture to museums and communities throughout the African continent. The exhibition Dispersive Archives features the work of artist Lawrence Burney, scholar Joy Davis, and archivist Jessica Douglas. All three people work with archives in multiple visual and audible mediums to express intangible artifacts of their past.
Lawrence Burney is born and raised in Baltimore, MD. He is currently a writer in New York City, where he serves as a Senior Editor at leading music publication, The FADER. He created the media platform, True Laurels, in 2011. True Laurels is dedicated to highlighting Baltimore's most captivating music, visual arts, and the surrounding culture that informs both—all of which is done through a variety of mediums. True Laurels’ print component is a biannual publication which started in 2013 and features artists from the Baltimore and DMV region through diaries, interviews, profiles, and photo essays. In August of 2018, True Laurels launched a weekly show on Red Bull Radio which intertwines music from Baltimore and The DMV with music being made throughout the African diaspora in an attempt to present the narratives of these artists as different branches of the same tree, all trying to affirm their identities through sound.
Joy Davis is a scholar and curator. She is also the director of Waller Gallery and the co-producer of Unravel Podcast. She joined Unravel Podcast in 2016 and opened Waller Gallery in April of 2018. She writes about subject matter that is underdeveloped in academia and with the public. Her work transcends many fields of study which includes: fashion, history, art, media, and performance among people of color through history. Her current research focuses on fashion and race analysis in Spanish colonial paintings. She splits her time in the Baltimore/DMV area and New York City. She has spoken at Johns Hopkins University, LIM College, the Costume Society of America, and more. With Waller Gallery and Unravel Podcast she works to break down the institutions and disseminate information to the community.
Jessica Douglas is an archivist, writer and historian from Baltimore, Maryland. She is a founding member of the Advisory Board for the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising 2015 Digital Archives Project, a user-submitted digital archives for media related to the Uprising. She has written about (real-time) participatory archiving as a form of activism and engagement. She has lectured about archival “self-preservation,” the act of archiving and preserving one’s own experiences. She focuses her research on digital archives, participatory archives, and promoting diversity, inclusivity, equity, transparency and accessibility in archives, museums and libraries. Although she has photographed her surroundings for years, she took an interest in local history, the remains of historic moments, and our personal connections to Baltimore’s past, present, and future.
Events During the Exhibition
February 2nd 5-7PM: Waller Panels: Being Black in the Archives
February 16th 5-7 PM: Artist Talk with Lawrence Burney
March 2nd 6-9 PM: Exhibition closing event with DJ Trillnatured