A Time to Break Silence

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Los-Angeles-based artist Edgar Arceneaux’s A Time To Break Silence (2012-2014) links two events from the 1960s as a means to ruminate on their legacies and implications for the future of American cities. Presented as both a film and an installation, the work is titled after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last major speech, “Beyond Vietnam,” in which he decries U.S. involvement in the war as an “enemy of the poor.” King was killed exactly one year later in 1968, two days before Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey premiered in Washington, D.C. In Arceneaux’s piece, Dr. King reprises his speech in Detroit’s Saint Anne’s Church, which figures as a timeless ruin, while a prehistoric man named Stargazer aimlessly explores his alien environment. Dr. King’s speech and 2001: A Space Odyssey both address technology in dual terms–as tool and weapon–a link amplified by Arceneaux’s collaboration with Detroit techno music innovators Underground Resistance who produced the soundtrack for the film. As Edgar Arceneaux’s studio manager, I line produced the film.

View an excerpt of the film on Vimeo