Juke Cry Hand Clap
A people’s history of house music & Chicago social culture
WORLD PREMIERE: October 3-5 and October 10-12 2014
MANA Contemporary, 2233 S. Throop
Juke Cry Hand Clap (2014) focuses on house music culture as a conceptual ground to explore social practices developed in Black Chicago during the long 20th century. Drawing from music forms such as blues, gospel, disco, and funk as well as dances such as the slow drag, bopping, stepping, the hustle, and line dances, Juke Cry Hand Clap (2014) explores “house” as an evolving embodied lineage of African American forms of making community and of cultural resistance influenced by the Great Migration from the rural South to the urban North (1910s through the 1970s).
Alongside the performances are a series of free public programs – talks, discussions, workshops – that situate house as history, culture, and knowledge. See the schedule here.
Between January and July 2014, HPP were artists in residence at High Concept Laboratories. In collaboration with cultural historian and house music scholar Micah Salkind as well as sound designer and DJ Jo De Presser, HPP hosted a series of monthly public workshops at Mana Contemporary (2233 S. Throop). A mix of various folk convene to dance, share memories, and map sites of musical and social development. These community voices and stories connected the spaces of house music with those of its parent musical cultures (such as soul, r&b, gospel, blues and jazz).
In addition to the sites of musical memory, participants in the mapping sessions were asked to help develop a comprehensive list of social practices and aesthetic priorities related to Chicago music cultures. The work is presented in a Juke Joint space created by local designer Norman Teague. Built out in unfinished wood and incorporating a functional bar, sound system, cabaret tables and several stages, the Juke is an immersive performance space that functions not only as a set, but also as a framing stage to help audiences make connections between the Southern juke joint and urban sites of musical creativity.
To create the living map, HPP is using material gathered from historical research, personal narrative and a series of public workshop sessions where stories of house as cultural phenomenon are documented. In an ebb and flow process, material collected in the public sessions and through dramaturgy grew in the studio. Likewise, studio developed performance nuggets were shared with the public to help Juke Cry take shape in discursive space (rather than the silo of a closed studio). Materials for use during the workshop, including individual worksheets, evolving paper maps and other ephemera help to elicit memories of musical heritage. Following the premiere, HPP is partnering with the Mapping Arts Project platform to develop a MAP subsite for Chicago based on the evolving data set being collected at each of the workshops.
Additionally, an exhibition of artifacts curated by The Modern Dance Music Archiving Foundation, will be on view at MANA aligning with Juke Cry’s premiere.
This object-based exhibition will complement the performance. Its material approach to house history will help to ground the conceptual elements of Juke Cry while enhancing the overall visibility of both projects. Together, the Juke space, the HPP performance and the archive’s exhibition create points of access for diverse Chicago art/dance patrons, house heads, and history buffs alike.