Manifestos 2 consists of four large graphite drawings of musical scores—each a transcription, as it were, of an abridged version of a revolutionary speech or political manifesto, made by assigning a note to each letter and a rest for each space—and four video monitors that display Gaines’s variants of the original texts. The four texts are “An Indigenous Manifesto” (1999), by the Canadian activist and educator Taiaiake Alfred, addressing the history and future of indigenous peoples; Malcom X’s last public speech, from 1965, in which he advocated unity among oppressed communities; Raul Alcaraz and Daniel Carrillo’s “Indocumentalismo” (2010), which calls for rights for undocumented immigrants; and the “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen,” written by Olympe de Gouges in 1791, which champions equality of the sexes.
In the videos, recordings of each piece of music accompany each gradually scrolling text; once all four have played on their own, they all play simultaneously, allowing the manifestos to act both individually and together. The resulting work considers the ways in which, in Gaines’s words, “the activist posture [of these texts] is complicated by the affect of music.”
Gallery label from Sites of Reason: A Selection of Recent Acquisitions, June 11–September 28, 2014.