by Ava Bruke
Alaere’s thesis is a series of data sculptures entitled Visions of Sound that look at the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement from the perspective of the African Diaspora. Alaere has conducted a series of 6 interviews with people of African descent who have differing opinions on Black Lives Matter and its role in the context of African—not just African-American—culture(s). She has isolated snippets of the interviews where interviewees are speaking with passion about aspects of this issue that affect them, and is using the sound waves from these snippets to create sculptural forms that will be exhibited in a gallery-style installation along with supporting audiovisual aids to contextualize the sculptures.
Alaere’s initial intent was to 3D print the forms, but materials cost proved that to be an unsustainable avenue. Instead, her current prototype consists of a series of laser cut wood sculptures. Each sculpture is composed of multiple stacked discs with protruding radial fluctuations representing an inverted graph of the form of the person’s voice during that section of the interview; the height and width of the discs corresponds to the duration of the audio clip. Alaere has investigated using materials sourced from African and diasporic regions to manifest her final iteration of the piece; the final material choice is still outstanding.
Alaere’s next priorities for the project are making final versions of the sculptures, conducting further interviews, and tackling video editing for the accompanying contextualizing materials that will be in her exhibition. This will either be accomplished by learning more about video editing herself or collaborating with a more experienced editor. Her goal with Visions of Sound is to approach the much-talked-about Black Lives Matter movement from the perspective of an African artist, and to represent the range of opinions at a global scale about a movement born from the tense racial climate in the United States (and therefore catering to the particular issues at hand in such a climate, such as police brutality).