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Abigail DeVille: "Light of Freedom" | Art21 "Extended Play"

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    ABIGAIL DEVILLE:
    "If there is no struggle there is no progress."
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    "Those who profess to favor freedom and yet
    depreciate agitation,"
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    "are men who want crops without plowing up
    the ground,"
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    "they want rain without thunder and lightning."
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    "They want the ocean without the awful roar
    of its many waters."
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    Frederick Douglass, August 4th, 1857.
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    [Abigail DeVille: "Light of Freedom"]
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    [Madison Square Park]
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    Initially, I found the
    Frederick Douglass quote,
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    and that was just me
    thinking about a way to
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    quickly contextualize what happened this summer.
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    I think it was the images that he painted.
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    I just kept thinking about the rolling waves,
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    and just the waves of people that
    hooked each other, arm in arm,
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    and protested in the face of, potentially,
    death,
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    through this pandemic,
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    to fight for whatever this nation
    actually pretends
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    that it was founded or based on.
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    It's a commemoration of the Black Lives Matter
    protests and movement,
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    and the Black lives here in this continent
    for 400 years.
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    As I was placing the arms,
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    thinking about the kinds of ways in which
    everything could have been so different,
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    that there have been opportunities and moments
    that have been missed,
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    cyclically in New York history and in the
    nation's history as a whole:
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    moments for progress
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    or moments that potentially the playing field
    was going to be evened out.
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    I had a really awesome fourth grade teacher,
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    her name was Mrs. Hammond.
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    She was spectacular.
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    She really made history come alive for us.
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    She played for us Martin Luther King's
    "I Have A Dream" speech on vinyl,
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    and you could hear a pin drop in that classroom.
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    I just remember holding my best friend's hand
    underneath the table the entire time
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    just being so moved by his words
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    and the power of his words.
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    She planted a seed, for sure,
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    of thinking about how we're all participants
    within history.
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    Seeing images of the Statue of Liberty's hand
    with torch in the park,
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    I was just like, "Okay, now I can stop looking."
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    "This is it."
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    "It's everything that I'm thinking about--"
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    "everything I want to talk about."
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    The torch and the hand of the Statue of Liberty
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    sat in this park for six years
    from 1876 to 1882
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    while they were trying to fundraise
    for the pedestal
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    for the Statue of Liberty.
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    I love scaffolding.
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    It's ubiquitous here in New York City.
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    Things have always been constructed
    and torn down.
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    This idea of freedom is under continual construction--
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    and reconstruction--
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    from generation to generation.
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    Thinking about bells being another symbol
    of liberty,
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    but then encaged within this torch,
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    that it actually can't really make a sound.
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    That also is the fuel of the torch,
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    and also blue fire being the hottest fire
    that there is.
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    Society has tried to separate us or define
    us by our bodies
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    or where we live--
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    or socioeconomic class, education, everything.
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    And then how collectively we can
    link our arms together
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    and assert something else.
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    I think making that work,
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    it was, in a way, like a prayer or a hope
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    for something for the future--
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    to bring names from the past into the present.
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    And then to continue the descension--
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    to pass the baton to honor the collective.
Title:
Abigail DeVille: "Light of Freedom" | Art21 "Extended Play"
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Team:
Art21
Proiect:
"Extended Play" series
Duration:
05:50

English subtitles

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