Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

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Spectrum of Blackness

Germane Barnes. A Spectrum of Blackness: The Search for Sedimentation in Miami. 2020

Spice rack: plastic, spices, wood, acrylic, drywall, paper, adhesive, metal, and wire Collages: digital collage printed on vellum and photo satin paper
Project team: Jennifer Lamy, Andrea Martinez, Reginald O’Neal, Gabriel Jean-Paul Soomar, and Roscoè B. Thické III
Special thanks to the University of Miami School of Architecture, Oolite Arts, and the Black Archives Miami
Commissioned for the exhibition Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America

Germane Barnes: My name is Germane David Barnes. A Spectrum of Blackness started from this exploration of what does it constitute to be Black in Miami? When you're in Miami, you'll meet Panamanians, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Haitians, Bahamians, African-Americans, and they're all Black.

There's 12 collages in total: of the porch and the kitchen and the rituals that happen within those spaces. All of the things that are shown within those collages are directly sourced from individuals from each of those ethnicities.

Another part of the project is a spice rack and these custom made labels. Instead of giving them their normal name, we put the times that we actually use them in black families. So instead of saying paprika, it'll say we use this on Thanksgiving on deviled eggs. So you really get to understand the ways in which we cook, in which we hang out, in which we care for each other.

There's also a map, which talks about water, because water shapes the locations of where individuals were allowed to live in Miami. When Miami was first founded, it was built off the backs of Bahamian immigrants and Black people from neighboring Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana. Black people were not allowed to live by water. But Miami is currently dealing with sea level rise. Ironically, the locations that Black people were forced to live in, because of discriminatory planning policies, are now the areas that are the least vulnerable to sea level rise. So now you're taking those from them as well.