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Institute of Contemporary Art Miami

Sable Elyse Smith, xxxxx UNTITLED sketch no. 3000, 2021

Sable Elyse Smith’s xxxxx UNTITLED sketch no. 3000 (2021) is a complex meditation on the repertoire of image-making possibilities and the post-cinematic visual tropes that have emerged over the last few years. Composed of found footage of James Brown dancing on stage, aerial views we increasingly associate with police chases, and upshots of driving down a street lined with palm trees, the images are superimposed by monochromatic blue squares that increasingly function as both placeholder and signifier of the (digital) void that remains to be filled. Halfway through the video, the opening chords of Daniel Kaede’s 2019 song “Lost Tale of Catalonia” sound, only to be slowed to an eerie soundscape.

Found and redacted images are looped, superimposed, and crossfaded, replicating digital and televisual platforms that are impossible to disentangle from the processes of racialization that undergird our social relations. By manipulating formal elements of the video, Smith reminds us that images are also manipulated, and that much of what we experience is subject to structures of domination.