American Civil Rights in Women’s Elektric Breakfast


19 December 2014


 American Civil Rights in Women’s Elektric Breakfast

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Soundtrack ‘63 is a multi-media, live music performance that engages viewers in a cultural and artistic retrospective of the Civil Rights Movement. Originally produced by 651 Arts and developed by Creative Director Chen Lo as part of the “Movement ‘63” series to commemorate the struggle for civil and human rights in the United States, the show first premiered in February 2013. Soundtrack ’63 features spirituals, protest songs, and popular music throughout the 20th century performed by an orchestra directed by Asante’ Amin. A 3-channel video installation, created by Elektric Breakfast, consisting of archival footage and animation serves as the backdrop for the songs. Videos and visual effects are mixed live to sync with the music.
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According to founding member Mitra Bonshahi, Elektric Breakfast is an all-women visual arts collective. The Brooklyn-based organization aims to foster unique forms of media such as the Soundtrack ‘63 project. Bonshahi was aware that the majority of people who came to the event had prior knowledge about the Civil Rights Movement. Regardless, she felt their creative storytelling and ability to engage the audience helped them re-imagine the struggle for human rights in the United States. “This idea of mixing art and technology is new for the audience.” Anna Barsan, VJ (“Video DJ”) and editor, live-mixed some of Soundtrack ‘63. This helped fuse the audio and visual facets of the project as genuinely as possible. The animation aspect of the project had to be pre-composed by animator and motion graphics developer Erin Culton. The prepared animations supported the 3-channel production to flow seamlessly. Culton elucidated that acknowledging the importance of being a female-led media collective doesn’t mean they are female exclusive or restrict collaborating on projects with men. “It is important to acknowledge that we are a team of women working in a male-dominated field.”
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In this video Anna Barsan, Mitra Bonshahi and Erin Culton will tell us more about Elektric Breakfast, their creative art of storytelling and methods of engaging the audience in re-imagining the struggle for civil and human rights in the United States.
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