project image
Alexandre Harbaugh

first performed on December 8, 2016
JFK Airport, NY / streets of Venice, Italy / Palazzo Mora, Venice, Italy
performed ongoing for seven days in 2016


Brooklyn, NY / Kansas City, MO


To excavate this black soul is to unearth a white artifact.

Was Fanon right when he postulated that we are slaving away to become white, while the white man slaves away to become more human?

On December 8, 2016, I boarded a plane at JFK Airport headed for Venice, Italy. I was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with the words “FOR WHITES ONLY” sewn across the back. Once in Venice, I painted my face black and chained myself to a 30 lb cinder block. I would remain attached to the block for seven days, carrying it with me wherever I went through the streets of Venice, for around ten to thirteen hours daily.

The work culminated with a live performance on day seven.

Day seven (The Performance):

1) Eucharist. I passed around bread and wine, marking participants’ foreheads with black crosses (white guilt, black shame).

2) Masturbation into a Bible while straddling a large (white) wooden cross. A projector displayed images of (white) Jesus and homosexual pornography—groups of white men performing anal sex on black individuals. During masturbation I repeated the phrase “white guilt, black shame.”

3) I licked the pages of the Bible onto which I had masturbated. I approached participants—white men and women. I blew my breath into their faces and said “FREEDOM.” Then I kissed them on the mouth.

4) I rolled around on the floor, covering myself in black paint while saying, “Everybody wants to be black, but nobody wants to BE black.”

5) I stapled fake currency all over my body, upon which were printed the faces of (America’s) Founding Fathers and Jesus Christ.

6) I donned a crown of barbed wire decorated with roses and cotton, took up the white cross, and lead a procession.

7) I erected the cross and climbed up on it. I then repeatedly screamed, “I AM A MAN!”

8) I came down from the cross and participants removed the currency from my body.

9) The audience formed a human chain leading outside of the building.

10) I had the participants pass the block down the line, asking them, “will you bear my burden?”

11) I took a large sledgehammer and smashed the block into pieces.

12) I instructed the audience to collect pieces of the block, to serve as reminders of their experience, and carry them out into the world. I also made them promise to keep the work alive through their own actions—destroying ALL blocks and forwarding the cause of absolute LIBERATION.