“Everyone will have to sign in, ok?” Black haired woman appears, panty hose, dress shirt, skirt, no shoes. Ethnically ambiguous. Small frame.
“When it gets to you, you have to sign in. Hush, now!” Brains in a jar. Pan on a hotplate. Small boombox. Pedestal.
Everything is “now!” What it’s like in 1915. Multiracial and anti-racial. What it’s like in 2015.
Absurdity, perhaps a little theatre, Dada.
A man speaks at us in German. Dreadlocks, black, tall. Gray suit. Black shoes. Ich…………………!!! Das…………..!!! He is urgent.
Muttering, the German walks away. iPad. He returns. Laughs. Then serious. Mad scientist.
The Woman appears again, clumsily. Drops a pile of papers.
Survey, Corporation, US Citizen? Yes or No
Ethnicity: Greek, Khmer, Shona, Zapotec, Algonquin, Nu, Basque, Romani
Sexual Orientation: Exclusively, predominantly, equally, incidentally heterosexual, homosexual
Felony or Misdemeanor? Yes, No
“How do you define sacrifice?” she says.
She’s calling people on the phone. Dragging shoeless feet, choreographed. Under. Over. Bench. Between people, laughing. Writhing while speaking in a secretary voice. Customer service. Vacant eyes.
“Rate your physical awareness.”
The German is still demanding in German that we sign in. Sweating, eyes bulging. He’s asking questions now to us, some of us understand, most of us don’t.
“Do you speak any other languages?” She’s calling people here in this room.
“How much is in your bank account right now?” There’s a white bald man in the back now, pacing back and forth. Thin. Suit. Omen.
Is he the head of this corporation?
“Would you say no to the President?” Predator?
“On a scale of 1-5” Fascist?
“Economic climate” Henchman?
He marches in. Pantyhose ripping. Panties. He binds her. Ethernet cord. She’s fighting him, but not resisting. Won’t let go of her phone. She’s still doing her job.
The Henchman has scissors. Cuts her shirt. Her wig is off. Coffee thermos. Pours water over her head. Cuts hair. Binder clips. Breast. Binder clip. Breast. Binder clip. Breast. He’s doing his job.
The German is still speaking. “Wir sehen…” “Ich….” Das….” Someone understands. You’re in danger. I’m going to help you.
Classical music from the boombox. Drama. Melodrama. The Henchman opens the jar of brains, pulls a handful out. The hotplate pan is cooking.
A crowd appears in the door. Tie dye. Picket signs. Foaming at the mouth. Activists? Literally. Screaming! Cacophony! Melee!
Push. Shove. Benches. Breaking. Break. The German laughs. He fights them. The woman is hopping from her chair. Feet still bound.
Crack! Clack! Clack! Holocene Overkill! Fuckers! Fuck it!
Snap! Wood breaking. What do we do?
“You’re in danger!”
They are talking to us.
“Get the fuck out!” We leave.
They slam door behind us. Screaming at us through the door.
Everything is now!
RP14 performance photo by Nabeela Vega
Rashayla Marie Brown is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural theorist. Her journey includes radio DJing, researching black British music in London and founding the family-owned graphic design company, Selah Vibe, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Brown holds a BA in Sociology and African-American Studies from Yale University and a BFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). She has received numerous awards, including the Anna Louise Raymond Fellowship, Chicago Artist Coalition’s BOLT Residency, the Propeller Fund, and the Mellon Research Grant. She currently serves as the Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at SAIC.