VSCO Open Studios: Undefined

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For us:

To move without restraints. To maneuver without definition. To manipulate the atmosphere around you with the angles of your body, sans the shackles of expectation. That is what this represents. 

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Expect nothing.

Expect not that these faces of color shall willingly contort themselves to fit into stencils that lack the artistry to comprehend their existence. This appearance isn’t a safe haven for your pre-conceived notions to take refuge. What you see is not what you get.

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Believe everything.

Believe that we are the sum of all, and the master of many. Believe that we are the glitch in an outdated matrix. Know that this isn’t a new salvo, but a barrage that finds its genesis before you came to be. Understand that we are more than what you bargained for. For your eye can’t fathom what is rising to meet it.

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For yall:

We were invited to participate in the VSCOopenstudio, but really had no idea what we wanted to do outside of take advantage of the amazing space they have. It all came together relatively last minute, if we’re being honest. From concept to pre-production, a lot of midnight hour decisions resulted in something we feel has the potential to move you.

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This project, although untitled, is supposed to address how society at large attributes meaning and characteristics, based off the appearance of people of color. Coincidently we just saw “BlindSpotting” at the Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland, and it struck a chord when considering identity in the context of how others view you. To be black and brown in a world that seeks to define you for the purpose of subjugation is a position of weakness. But weakness can be overcome. We find strength in our difference. We steel our resolve in the knowledge of self. 

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Dance is such a vivid and visceral art form, that we felt it the medium best to convey this idea of a life free from the confines of prejudice. There are so many genres within this overarching principal, that even if you met someone in a tutu, you couldn’t possibly assume that they were only proficient in ballet. Just as if you came across a black man with dreads stalking the streets of Oakland, you might have difficulty drawing the conclusion that they are a loving husband, doting father, and dancer extraordinaire. Don’t define what you don’t understand. Expect nothing and believe everything. 

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Thank you to the team at VSCO for having us. It was a wonderful experience. 

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Niko Rodriguez