For his Year of Uncertainty project, Artist-In-Residence Julian Louis Phillips centers on the psychological and physical presence of the police, referencing police training manuals, protest banners and “civil disorder” tactics. The Strategic Response Group (TSRG) serves as a counter-narrative project that will be defined through gradually developing channels of communication. Experimenting with new methodologies and conceptual frameworks the exhibition will evolve over time with elements such as sculptures, drawings, films, and a series of collaborative youth workshops. Together these address the histories, strategies, and experiences of policing and protest, and explore transformative visions of abolition and an end to the carceral state.
In the Museum’s central atrium, Phillips’ sculptures simulate the appearance of heavy concrete NYPD police barricades but are mobile, lightweight, and soft. These works exemplify the artists’ intervention in and subversion of embodied forms of control and dissent. The artist invites visitors to voice their power and participate by leaving drawings and messages to accumulate directly on the surface of the sculptures. For the Museum’s gallery space, Phillips presents a living room video installation of performance-based films that explore what it means to be “radicalized” in a Black body and the perception of that radicalization. Text and image based drawings will gradually accumulate to cover the surrounding walls. These integrate the visual language of protest signs with the artist’s personal reflections on social justice and resistance work under capitalism.