Le'Andra LeSeur's installation at the 2021 Atlanta Biennal is featured in 2020 reverberates at this year’s Atlanta Biennial exhibition, written by Rosalind Bentley for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Not quite three weeks before a bystander filmed Minneapolis police officers killing George Floyd as he lay on the street calling for his dead mother, Dreasjon Reed was killed by Indianapolis police after a chase. Like Floyd’s killing, part of Reed’s encounter was streamed on Facebook Live by Reed himself.
Reed was apparently holding his phone when gunfire erupted. At least one bullet hit him and he fell. The livestream continued but the phone tumbled to the ground and only blue sky was visible to viewers.
“The way the sun was hitting the screen created all these various tones of blue,” LeSeur said. “There was something that took over me and transformed this anger into something peaceful.”
So, LeSeur captured a clip of that sky view, magnified it so there are no other discernible images, only vast expanses of blue, then she slowed the video to an almost imperceptible crawl. That video is the basis of her multimedia piece “There are Other Hues of Blue.”
Multiple television screens mounted to the ceiling in one of the galleries will play the video of LeSeur’s drifting shades of blue. The room will fill with a recording of LeSeur reading snippets of notes she’s written to herself on her phone during the last three years. She wrote when she was happy. She wrote when she was frustrated or distressed. She wrote when she felt surrounded by love.
“I was noticing a rhythm happening with the words,” LeSeur said. “It felt like I was writing to my future self.”
She hoped to read live during special performances of the piece. The pandemic makes that impossible now. But recording has made her think more deeply about the healing power of the human voice.
“There is so much violence in the world, so I’ve been thinking about the opposite of violence.” LeSeur said. “We have to think about what happens after. Where are the small moments of tenderness and care? And I have been thinking about how beautiful it is to be alive and to carry out that potential for someone else who, tragically, can’t do it anymore.”