Got The Power: Boomboxes
Got the Power, uses ambient sound, music, and oral history to create portraits of American communities. As a project that began during a public artist residency at The Laundromat Project, Bayeté travels to different regions of the country and invites community members, young and old, to collaborate in making a mixtape which archives their favorite songs and stories. Through a tower of boom boxes that the artist builds at each site, participants are able to add their favorite song titles to a public playlist, and record their memories about their community. These contributions are then mixed together with ambient sound specific to the area, creating a mixtape that can be played both online and through the boom box tower.
Referencing the role boom boxes have played in urban communities and within popular culture, the resulting sculpture and soundscape is a symbol of pride, power, and autonomy. By collaborating with local residents to realize each iteration of this project, Bayeté creates an accessible and site-specific work that offers its collaborators an opportunity to record and share their own history.