COMMUNITY ART IN THE POST-DISASTER LANDSCAPES OF TODAY
Monday, March 31, 2008
Site #28: Kathy Randels "Spaces In Between" 6860 General Diaz, Lakeview
"Spaces in Between" is an account of events that took place in Kathy Randels’ birth home during her first 18 years. 6860 General Diaz became the pastorium of Lakeview 'Baptist Church in 1966 when her father James Richard Randels was their pastor. His family lived there until 1993. Subsequently, two other pastors and their families lived in the house. In the days following Hurricane Katrina, the house was submerged in 8’ of water. Two years later, the church has decided to sell the property. This will be the final performance of Spaces in Between.
In this performance Kathy Randels plays a spirit, The Black Lady, who leads the audience through all the rooms of the gutted house, sharing moments when she haunted the family, Kathy in particular. The piece is an extended monologue by The Black Lady, who directly addresses the audience. It is divided into sections based on the room in which she is speaking.
The Black Lady is a shape-shifter who dances in between the realms of the living and the dead. She is named for the color of her costume. (Crna Dama, in Serbian, does not have the same racial implications that “The Black Lady” has in American English.) Kathy inherited the character from Tina Milevojevic of Dah Teatar in Belgrade, Serbia, who created her for Dah’s original performance The Helen Keller Case. Randels took over that role in the fall of 1998/spring of 1999, but the performance came to an abrupt end in March 1999 when, while performing in New Zealand, NATO began bombing Serbia and Kosovo. Randels carried The Black Lady’s costumes and props home to the U.S. and has embodied her in several pieces since, including two performance protests. For Randels, The Black Lady has become an instrument for addressing social or governmental injustices.
"Spaces in Between" was originally created as a part of the first of "HOME, New Orleans? Lakeviews" community art events. "Spaces in Between" was conceived, written and performed by Kathy Randels. The installation was designed and created by Ms. Randels with Takako Uemura. Technical direction, lighting, and sound design were created by Sean LaRocca.
ArtInAction would like to thank Jan Gilbert for her generous support of this project.