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Paul Rucker’s Artist Residency Spotlights Social Injustice

Rucker's Residency is hosted by MICA's Center for Race and Culture

Posted 03.01.14 by mica communications

Paul Rucker.

MICA's Center for Race and Culture's hosting of Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist-in-Residence and Research Fellow Paul Rucker through the 2013-2014 academic year is an example of the creative environment the College provides for artists from diverse backgrounds to collaborate. "The artist-scholar is a national and cultural treasure that is crucial to the integrity of all nations," said Leslie King-Hammond, PhD, founding director of the Center for Race and Culture and graduate dean emerita. "The opportunity to interact with Paul Rucker, as he creates sites of brilliance and intellectual challenge, is exciting and humbling work," she added.

His projects investigate community impacts, civil and human rights issues, and historical research.

While in residency, Rucker is working with students on integrating sound into their artwork and creating The Empathy Project, an interactive exhibition based on his continuing research work to increase awareness and compassion to change how humans address social justice and differences. The project includes performances, workshops, interactions with artists, luncheons, and a forum designed to engage the MICA community. He is also continuing to research and develop his Creative Capital funded project Recapitulation, which draws parallels between slavery and the prison industrial complex through animation, digital stills, original composition, sculpture, interactive sound, and video.

READ: About The Empathy Project

"Although slave and convict have different names, these labels share similar limitations and expectations," Rucker said. "Both have faced exploitation for labor, a loss of rights, and disenfranchisement."

The multidisciplinary artist merges performance, original composition, sound, and visual art.

"In order for me to work and develop my authentic voice, I have to explore all different mediums," he said.

Rucker's novel combination of statistics and imagery from past and present appears in works such as Proliferation, an animated map of the United States prison system set to music and showing the growth of the prison system over a few hundred years. His works intend to help people understand the progression from one system of servitude to another.

READ: About Proliferation

The artist came to Baltimore to study further the school-to-prison pipeline through research and collaborations with local institutions, communities, artists, galleries, and performance spaces.

"Baltimore is America amplified," Rucker said, adding, "It's where the north meets the south and has so much historical information. I couldn't be in a better place to do this project."