In a new film from our Extended Play digital series, Kara Walker and composer/musician Jason Moran—in a candid one-on-one conversation—discuss their collaboration for the Prospect.4 triennial in New Orleans, “Katastwóf Karavan” (2018). Installed at Algiers Point on the bank of the Mississippi River and activated daily across three days in February 2018, the work featured a thirty-two-note steam calliope performed by Moran and housed in a wagon developed by Walker.
A contemporary calliope, “Katastwóf Karavan” uses the mechanics of American manufacturing to uplift the voices it once suppressed. Historically this “music is used for people who are captive” Moran notes, eliciting feelings of both celebration and distress. “As a stationary object, it always needs to be activated,” Walker explains. “When you have monuments or commemorative things that just exist, they sit there and they disappear.”
This is the first in the series of three new Art21 films premiering throughout Fall 2018.