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William Cordova: on the lower frequencies i speak 4 u

Overview

This exhibition showcases William Cordova’s on the lower frequencies i speak 4 u (2019), a remarkably complex work that originates from the Peruvian American artist’s research into individuals, places, and narratives significant to the Civil Rights Movement that intersect with contemporary social and musical history.

The edition acquired by the BMA in 2021 includes a suite of 14 mixed-media prints, a wooden boombox with a wire hanger antenna, a handmade glass lens, and eight unique Polaroids. It is accompanied by a field recording made at the Harlem site of a Jimi Hendrix concert that the artist transferred to x-ray film.

The title is inspired by the epilogue of Ralph Ellison’s landmark novel, The Invisible Man, and the work highlights important commonalities between Latin America, Black Harlem, and Spanish Harlem. By juxtaposing references to the past with more contemporary subjects, Cordova uses material culture as testimony to the ephemeral nature of documentation and memory.