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Join Dread Scott and Antenna to present a performative reenactment of the largest slave rebellion in North American history.
Join Dread Scott and Antenna to present a performative reenactment of the largest slave rebellion in North American history.
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478 backers pledged $42,227 to help bring this project to life.

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An army from the past, forged of descendants of enslaved Africans, collides with the present in a re-animation of the largest slave rebellion in North American history.

Renowned artist Dread Scott and Antenna, a New Orleans-based arts organization, are working together to present Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community-engaged performance that will bring to life a suppressed history of people with an audacious plan to organize, take up arms, and seize Orleans Territory. In this area of land stretching across most of present day Louisiana, the rebels of the 1811 uprising were determined to fight not just for their own emancipation, but to end slavery.  It is a project that will animate a revolutionary vision of freedom that creates a space for viewers and participants to dream: What if …?

The artwork will be a startling sight; 500+ Black people, many on horses, armed with machetes and muskets, flags flying, some in militia uniforms, others in 19th century French colonial garments, singing in Creole to African drumming. Over two days and 26 miles, this army of the enslaved will march the original route of the 1811 rebellion along the east bank of the Mississippi River. Formerly the site of decadent plantations, the route now passes heavy industry, gated communities, small businesses, low-income housing, big box-style stores, and other characteristics of everyday life. As the rebellion proceeds through this richly layered space, the historical confluences between past and present will create an ever-shifting dialogue that encourages viewers to re-think long-held assumptions. The ending of SRR will intentionally interrupt the timeline of history on which it’s based to culminate in a celebration featuring a public commemoration of the enslaved rebels who sacrificed their lives and a community celebration of Black cultural expressions of freedom through music and performance.

Re-enactors in costume, Army of the Enslaved
Re-enactors in costume, Army of the Enslaved

A key element to slave revolts was the organizing by small groups of trusted individuals who met clandestinely to plot with others in small cells. Mirroring this structure, SRR is initiating several recruitment and organizing meetings of multiple small groupings of people to prepare for the enacted uprising. These meetings will be part of the artwork—a performative reenactment of history. Taking the form of conversations about why people choose to participate and about others they might want to involve, the self-organization of the reenactors will be an essential part of the artwork. In addition to the live reenactment, SRR will have film and photo documentation that will bring this project to broader audiences.

In excavating and animating what is a largely unknown yet vital part of our history, this project aspires to encourage people of all races to broaden their view of what is possible.

A mockup of the reenactment along the actual route.
A mockup of the reenactment along the actual route.

Why should I support this project?

The enslaved rebels of 1811 had the most radical view of freedom in America at the time. To be free required the overthrow of the system of slavery. Slave Rebellion Reenactment can bring this bold spirit of freedom and emancipation into our present.

We can only make this re-enactment through a broad base of individual and organizational collaborators who will help bring the project to life. The support of individuals like you who believe in the project’s vision of emancipation is vital. Having worked over several years to research, organize, and set the proverbial gears in motion, we need your help down the home stretch of production. Your contribution will support many facets large and small between now and the presentation of Slave Rebellion Reenactment in November 2018: costume creation and prop acquisition, organizer and reenactor recruitment (all of whom will receive a modest honorarium for their participation), local historical consultation, film and photo crews, on-site accommodations for participants, and more.

To support this project is to believe in the power of art to show us the uncompromising right of freedom by any means necessary. By embodying those who fought for an end to all slavery, we can return a history that was suppressed by slave owners and white supremacy, to its rightful place amongst people struggling to end oppression and be free.

This history remains largely unknown, with few instances of public acknowledgement.
This history remains largely unknown, with few instances of public acknowledgement.

About Dread Scott

Dread Scott makes revolutionary art to propel history forward. His work is exhibited across the US and internationally. For three decades he has made work that encourages viewers to re-examine unifying ideals and values of American society. In 1989, the entire US Senate denounced and outlawed one of his artworks and President G.H.W. Bush declared it “disgraceful” because of its transgressive use of the American flag. His art has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum, MoMA/PS1, the Walker Art Center and galleries and street corners across the country. His works can be hard-edged and poignant. Dread plays with fire—metaphorically and sometimes literally—as when he burned $171 on Wall Street and encouraged those with money to burn to add theirs to the pyre.

On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide, Dread scott performance
On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide, Dread scott performance

About Antenna

Antenna is a New Orleans-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to being a vital participant in the life of the city through the creation and support of artist- and writer-driven programs. In its role as an engine for cultural production and a resource for creative practitioners, Antenna incites and supports creative efforts with transformative approaches to effecting environmental, racial, social, and economic justice. Antenna pursues its mission through a robust slate of multidisciplinary programming that includes exhibitions, events, publications, and arts education.

Support

Slave Rebellion Reenactment is/has been supported in part by: A Blade of Grass Foundation, Socially Engaged Artist Fellowship; Antenna; Art Matters; The Givens Foundation for African American Literature; The Kindle Project; The Joan Mitchel Center; The MAP Fund/Creative Capital; The McColl Center for Art + Innovation; Open Society Foundations; Smack Mellon as well as generous contributions from individual donors.

This project has been selected for inclusion on Art Basel’s curated page on Kickstarter.

Rewards

Set of two postcards
Set of two postcards

 

1811 New Orleans Revolt tee-shirt
1811 New Orleans Revolt tee-shirt

 

Slave revolt leaders tee-shirt
Slave revolt leaders tee-shirt
America Left Them To Die
America Left Them To Die

 

    
Killed by Military for Looting Food
Killed by Military for Looting Food

 

 
Fragments of the Peculiar Institution, book
Fragments of the Peculiar Institution, book

 

Tote bag
Tote bag

 

Wanted posters (set of 5)
Wanted posters (set of 5)
 

 

Stop White on Black Crime poster
Stop White on Black Crime poster

 

Redistribute Wealth poster
Redistribute Wealth poster

 

SRR Dread Scott walking tour
SRR Dread Scott walking tour

 

Dread Scott studio visit
Dread Scott studio visit

 

Conspiring to Cut Off the King's Head, print
Conspiring to Cut Off the King's Head, print

 

Overthrow Dictators, print
Overthrow Dictators, print

 

 
Hate, print
Hate, print

 

 

Dinner with Dread
Dinner with Dread

 

A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday
A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Risks and challenges

A project of this size, scope, and organizing process--being largely self organized and including over 500 individuals and numerous organizational partners--certainly presents its logistical challenges. But these same characteristics are what provide confidence for its success by offering everyone involved with a vested and essential stake in the project. To this point there has been overwhelming local support for the project; people aren’t participating for Dread Scott or Antenna, but out of a belief in the importance of embodying this history of resistance in the present. As such, the rebel army will march rain or shine!

We’ve worked hard to set the table for success by forging partnerships with local groups who have been working for years to preserve this history, working with an experienced costume designer and fabricator, liaising with local authorities, and more. And with over 11 years of working on collaborative projects in the region, Antenna has proven its ability to adjust on the fly to various challenges that might arise.

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Some video segments courtesy A Blade of Grass Foundation—production and editing done by RAVA films. Portions edited by Raul Paz-Pastrana.
Video music: The Wild Bamboulas courtesy Bamboula 2000

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Artwork postcard set + Project Updates

    Set of 2 postcards developed for Slave Rebellion Reenactment—1) a sighting of the Army of the Enslaved. 2) Imagine Successful Slave Revolts

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    1811 New Orleans tee-shirt

    Tee-shirt commemorating the 1811 Revolt. Shirt designed by Dread Scott

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    54 backers
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    Slave revolt leaders tee-shirt

    The names of Toussaint L'Ouverture& Nat Tuner& Denmark Vesey& Gabriel Prosser& Charles Deslondes—leaders of revolts of enslaved people. Shirt designed by Dread Scott

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    America Left Them To Die print

    Print from Dread Scott artwork, Never Forgive, Never Forget, They Left Us To Die. This print is form an installation made in response to Hurricane Katrina. 11 x 16 inches. Archival pigment print. Open edition. Unsigned, unframed.

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    Shot By the Military, Looting Food print

    Print from Dread Scott artwork, Never Forgive, Never Forget, They Left Us To Die. This print is form an installation made in response to Hurricane Katrina. 16 x 11 inches. Archival pigment print. Open edition. Unsigned, unframed.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    1811 New Orleans revolt tote bag

    Tote bag commemorating the 1811 Revolt.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Slavery Archive research book

    Fragments of the Peculiar Institution. A 96 page book that is an archive of Dread Scott's research into slavery. Full color with illustrations, photographs and text. 8x10 inches.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Set of 5 Wanted Posters, signed

    Set of 5, posters from Wanted, a project about the criminalization of youth. Signed by Dread Scott. Each poster 11 x 8-1/2 inches. Offset prints.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Special Edition of Fragments... book

    Special Limited Edition of ‘Fragments of the Peculiar Institution’ with custom Slave Rebellion Reenactment cover, produced at Antenna’s Paper Machine print facility. An artists book archive of Dread Scott's research into slavery. 96 pages, 8" x 10", Full color with illustrations.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Reception with Dread Scott at Antenna

    Reception with Dread Scott at Antenna’s new Paper Machine print facility in New Orleans, with tour, food, drink and Dread’s artist’s book (only available through Antenna) ‘Fragments of the Peculiar Institution’, signed by the author. Reward only available in New Orleans.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Stop White on Black Crime print

    Limited edition letter press print. A new 2017 artwork by Dread Scott. 20 signed and numbered prints in the edition. 22 x 14 inches. Unframed (There are 55 additional unsigned un-numberd prints of this work)

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    Redistribute Wealth print

    Limited edition letterpress print. A new 2017 artwork by Dread Scott. 20 signed and numbered prints in the edition. 22 x 14 inches. Unframed (There are 55 additional unsigned un-numberd prints of this work)

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    SRR Walking tour with Dread Scott

    Walking tour of part of Slave Rebellion Reenactment route with Dread Scott. Up to 20 people will come on tour. Takes place upriver from New Orleans. Transportation from New Orleans provided.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Studio visit with Dread Scott

    Studio visit with Dread Scott. He will discuss Slave Rebellion Reenactment and his other artwork. This is a group studio visit with backers of this Kickstarter. The studio visit takes place in New York.

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    Conspiring to Cut Off the King’s Head

    Limited edition silkscreen and letter press print by Dread Scott. 2017. Signed and numbered. Edition of 28. 14 x 11 inches. Unframed.

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    Overthrow Dictators print

    Limited edition laser cut frosted mylar print by Dread Scott. 2017. Signed and numbered. Edition of 28. 11 x 14 inches. Unframed.

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    Conspiring to Cut off the Kings Head

    Limited edition screen print with letterpress. Dread Scott. 2017. Signed and numbered. Edition of 28. 14 x 11 inches. Unframed.

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    Hate silkscreen

    Limited edition silkscreen print. Published in 2017, Edition of 24. 26 x 26 inches.

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    Last Penny

    Sculpture by Tom Otterness
    Unique finished plaster, signed
    Size: 9.25 x 9.75 x 9.75 inches

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    Dinner & studio visit with Dread

    You and up to 4 friends of your choosing will visit Dread's studio and then have dinner afterwards. Takes place in NY.

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    A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday

    Artwork that went viral after the police murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, Silkscreen on canvas. 2017, 59 x 37-1/2 inches. Edition of 10. Signed and numbered.

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    Model for Pillowsophia

    (after Offred & Biggie)
    Sculpture by Paul Chan
    Medium: muslin, wire, stuffing, nylon, wood. Size: 22” x 19” x 6.5” Unique
    This is a hand and machine sewn model by Paul Chan that acts as a sculptural “drawing” or prototype for his series of works he calls “breathers”. The breathers are both sculptural works and moving images. Each breather is composed of a fabric “body” designed by Chan and attached to one or more specially modified fans. Incorporating techniques that combine clothing design, patternmaking, drawing, and physics, Chan manipulates how the breathers move by composing the internal architecture of the bodies so that they are capable of exploiting the airflow and air pressure from the fans to create different kinds of “motion”. They are physical animations—moving images in all three dimensions.

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    Reenactment Flag

    These unique flags will be custom made and carried prominently by the Army of the Enslaved during the Reenactment. The rebels carried flags during the 1811 Revolt. Dread Scott will design flags based on symbols that would have been important to Africans enslaved in New Orleans at the time.
    Backer will receive the flag before the reenactment; it will be borrowed for the performance, and returned afterwards
    The design may vary from this sketch.
    Cotton, dyed with colors available in 1811. Unique Flag.

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Funding period

- (35 days)