'Transformer' is composed of a series of interrelated vignettes that portray an evolution from a negative human condition to transcendence, or freedom from that condition. Performance artist Sherman Fleming uses body movement to express physical and mental conditions, societal bondage, subjugation to materialism, and addictions. The artist's body movements reflect the process throughout the work to interpret these messages. An evolution from enslavement to transcendence is finally achieved through a transformation from the physical body to an abstract drawing.
The facts of slavery in the relationship between Africa and the United States is what initiated this project. Sherman, Lars Torres (sound artist), and myself talked alot about the necessity to address the social and historical malady, but we felt the issue of slavery was much broader and more complex in contemporary times. We began to question the very nature of slavery and how as human beings we are all subject. Is it socialogical or biological? The external versus the internal dialogue. We know how societies teach it, but how about our inner fabric, our DNA? The elusive nature of slavery that seems to repeat itself with new definitions and masks that include cheap outsourced labor, consumerism, media and propoganda are portrayed as bondage and storytelling. While addiction and internal obsessions are embraced by emotional double. In a contemporary Senegal and the rest of the world our very beliefs in society, religon and science all come into question.
David Carlson, video stills from 'Transformer' NTSC
5 min. 30 sec. running time) 2000