The Madding Crowd from A Story Within A Story (2011-2013)
Video by Carrie Mae Weems
Music and Sound Design by Gregory Wanamaker
The Madding Crowd superimposes spoken quotations and dialogue about civil rights from civil rights figures from (mostly) the early to mid 1960s over Carrie’s powerful montage of video images from the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s and 70s as a gentle ostinato and slowly developing contrapuntal lines gradually crescendo. Voices include James Baldwin, Malcolm X, Dorothy Height, Shirley Chisolm, William F. Buckley, Sidney Poitier, Charlton Heston, Fannie Lou Hamer, Marlon Brando, Harry Belefonte, and many others.
As Carrie eloquently stated, “What I hope is that there are applications for people to look at the present through this piece. If art has a function, I think that’s it.”
As we watch recent events unfold in Ferguson, The Madding Crowd becomes more than a reflection of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, but a mirror showing us the current culture in the United States – which begs the question: How far have we come over the past 50 years?