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November 18, 2021

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste
Set It Off

Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Get Low (The Fall/The Drop), 2021. Wood, polyethylene, tinted glass, subwoofer, and water from the James River. Installation view, ICA at VCU, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, The Pusher (detail), 2021. Flatbed cart, subwoofer, and audio cable. Installation view, 1708 Gallery, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Credit. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, To Infinity (detail), 2021. Wood, polyethylene, tinted glass, subwoofer, and water from the James River. Installation view, 1708 Gallery, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

View of Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste: Set It Off, 1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, The Pusher, 2021. Flatbed cart, subwoofer, and audio cable. Installation view, 1708 Gallery, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Get Low (The Fall/The Drop), 2021. Wood, polyethylene, tinted glass, subwoofer, and water from the James River. Installation view, ICA at VCU, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Get Low (The Fall/The Drop), 2021. Wood, polyethylene, tinted glass, subwoofer, and water from the James River. Installation view, ICA at VCU, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Get Low (The Fall/The Drop), 2021. Wood, polyethylene, tinted glass, subwoofer, and water from the James River. Installation view, ICA at VCU, 2021. © Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. Photo: David Hale.

Set It Off is a multi-site exhibition by Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste. This exhibition consists of two variations of a monumental, immersive, sonic sculpture installed across both sites. At the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, visitors are invited to enter two large-scale black cubes made of wood, polyethylene, and tinted glass, and at 1708 Gallery, visitors will encounter a black square pool built of similar materials. Each structure uniquely incorporates the circulation of water from the James River which flows across the entire state of Virginia, reminding us to consider our bodies as mediums for environmental pollutants.

New York-based artist, composer, and performer, Toussaint-Baptiste was a 2021 Sound Artist-in-Residence at Bemis Center For Contemporary Art and received a Bessie Award in 2018 for Outstanding Music Composition and Sound Design. His work considers notions of errant relations that thrive across subjectivities. Set It Off continues Toussaint-Baptiste's work as an artist and composer committed to the affective and relational possibilities of sound through perspectives of minimalism.

Since the 1980s, music has been used to push the limits of car audio and sound systems. Music genres like Bounce, Miami Bass, synth bass, and trap intensify cars, clubs, and their surrounding areas. Inescapable in many U.S. cities, bass produces deep affinities but also aversions and sensitivities. While some are conditioned to enjoy the impact of excessive bass, others are given no choice but to experience its intensity. Set It Off intends to shake the room, using the car audio system as the most recognizable transmitter of bass.

Using sonic frequencies that register just below human audibility, the installations provide a series of site-specific experiences for sound to be deeply felt. Coursing through Set It Off is a resistance to predetermined representations of Black American experiences, which is most often simplified as either a victim of violence and oppression or worse, as absent, static, and universal from selective omission throughout history. Toussaint-Baptiste invites visitors to deeply engage with the site, considering the implications of sound, visibility, and performance.

This exhibition is dually located at 1708 Gallery (319 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220) and the ICA. It will be on view at the ICA through June 19, 2022. Set It Off is co-curated by ICA Curator Amber Esseiva and Park C. Myers, the Royall Family Curator at 1708 Gallery.

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