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Black Tape Ebony Frame

Zachary Fabri

A photo of Black tape
A photo of Black tape

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

November 11–December 18, 2021

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Zachary Fabri’s Black Tape Ebony Frame celebrates the living moments of Fabri’s African American family and friends by creating a reel-to-reel analog audio recording of one-on-one conversations. Originally, the project was created to record his father’s stories as a political refugee from Hungary in 1956, but soon expanded to provide space to contemplate the heightened culture of police violence against Black people. Through these conversations, Fabri’s Session examines mortality and immortality as they relate to both remembrance and refusal.

After each conversation is recorded, Fabri will wind the audiotape around an ebony frame, sealing it and thereby preventing access to the conversation. The only information revealed from the conversation will be the name of the participants, date, and time. By intentionally complicating this accessibility to the conversations, Fabri invites viewers to consider the future problems of technological obsolescence, as well as possible ways to safeguard Black cultural content against commodification.

How do black people create and control their own content? What is the role and responsibility of cultural organizations to facilitate critical discourse? How are “Black Futures” protected? While these are valuable queries, the goal of Black Tape Ebony Frame is not data collection or in-depth interviews. For Fabri priority is placed on having organic, pedestrian, and meandering “stoop chats” where guests can discuss these questions openly. As such, the Session gallery will be transformed into a live recording studio influenced by the portrait studio photography practice of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé.

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Zachary Fabri

Zachary Fabri is an interdisciplinary artist engaged in lens-based media, language systems and the built environment; often complicating boundaries around studio research, performance, and socially engaged practice. Fabri’s work has been exhibited at Art in General, The Studio Museum in Harlem, El Museo del Barrio, The Walker Art Center, The Brooklyn Museum, The Barnes Foundation, and Performa. Collaborations include projects at the Museum of Modern Art, the Sharjah Biennial, and Pace gallery. He is the recipient of the 2020 Colene Brown Art Prize and an upcoming solo exhibition at CUE Art Foundation.


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