Torkwase Dyson

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The Color of Crude
Torkwase Dyson

Multi-channel video installation
Duration  3 minutes, 2 seconds
2010-2017, (on going)

Torkwase Dyson aims to deepen our understanding of built and natural environments while speaking to the power of the black body to expressively inhabit and negotiate the coercive construction of space in real time. 

“I journey clandestinely to underwater in sites such as the Gulf of Mexico and Cape Town, South Africa exploring coral reefs, kelp farms, oil rigs, tankers, and pumps to familiarize myself with the Atlantic Ocean’s atmosphere. With each dive I become more fascinated by this massive body of water occupied by marine life and steel structures extruding into the sky. Simultaneously, I’m aware this body of water also helped spatialize black populations and ultimately position our bodies in places that would not honor our humanness. Studying our current ecological crisis in relationship to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, I consider these waters my collaborators in discovering the immensity of being human.”

The Color of Crude explores indelible ties of geography, economy, color, time, sensoria, and what it means to be a human body of these ecologies. The moving images in this multi-channel video installation are an amalgamation of footage Dyson has captured from her travels. With each underwater dive she layers images combining the site-specific footage into filters of blue, brown and black colors.