Jeffrey Byrd describes his work as exploring metaphoric potentials of the human body the relationships between reality and artifice through original music and otherworldly vocals. To this should be added human relations and decision theory. His brilliant command of the audience that sat present during his performance was a great exercise in subjectivity and how we make decisions regarding another’s identity and aesthetics based on our own identity.
The stage was set with 3 rows of ties with about 4 ties in each row. Some were ugly ties and somewhere very nice looking, though that statement itself is subjective. As Jeffrey presented himself in a grey business suit made from a cardboard box, he explained to us how he had a presentation to give and how important the presentation was. Then he enlisted the audience in aiding him to dress for the presentation by helping him make a decision on the tie to choose. The subjective decision making of aesthetics quickly divided the room as some thought what, I and a handful of participants might consider an ugly to be the “proper” wear for this important presentation. This went on for a while and a decision was finally made based on a majority vote. Jeffrey remarked how Congress might learn a lesson from this form of organizational choice making. I agree.
After the decision was reached Jeffrey Byrd launched into his speech. The speech was a passionate examination of the relationships between music and other worldly vocals. It lasted a few minutes, going from drones to yodels at various points. You couldn’t quite make out words but you began to form your own subjective view on what was possibly being said and the level of importance it should have. You made choices based on the information you were given.
Photo by Abbéy Odunlami
Abbéy Odunlami is a Nigerian-American filmmaker and cultural worker, living and working in Chicago, Detroit & Switzerland. He did his undergraduate work at Eastern Michigan University in Electronic Media & Film Studies w/ a minor in Theatre Comprehension. In the past few years he’s focused on cultural production and worked as a curator, and in programming, coordinating and management for Sundance, Telluride film festival, Doha-Tribeca International film festival, and the Chicago International film festival. He’s currently pursuing two Masters degrees: 1.) at the School of the Art Institute Chicago in Art Education and the 2.) at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland in Conflict Transformation & Peacebuilding. His current trend as a maker is to focus on creating livable “situations” as a means of producing ephemeral material that’s exhibit-able.