Play Me Home, 2021
4-channel HD color video, with sound
Courtesy of the artist
Play Me Home is a multichannel installation and a series of related sculptural objects. This genre-defying new work blends narrative fiction and nonfiction centered around several intertwined threads. One channel features a filmic portrait of the four o’clock flower, a variety of trumpet flower known for its ability to propagate and thrive on land hostile to most plant life. The four o’clock grows wild throughout the Delta region, on the same lands where the artist’s family settled as some of the earliest Black sharecropping farmers in the Delta, and where they still own and maintain farmland. This view onto historical Black relationships to land, property, and livelihood in the region is the focus of the channel situated within the sole monitor in the space. Two more channels present scenes of McClodden burying and planting a dying flower on land in the Lower Ninth Ward alongside two trumpets (witnesses), as well as filmic portraits of the land where McClodden’s family has lived in the Delta.
The leather-bound feature-length script draft, a work in progress for over a decade, centers the fictional narrative of an elderly Black woman’s return to New Orleans, where she once played in an all-female brass band, as she comes to the end of her life. The work’s title references Black musical funerary traditions and honors lesser-acknowledged sites and modalities of “home” for Black people living in the United States. By exploring localized migration in the South, Play Me Home documents and interrogates place, personhood, and vitality as encountered through the sensual experience of Black people and communities.
Presented by the VIA Art Fund.