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August 19, 2017

YBCA (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts): Public Square: What Does Equity Look Like? Why Citizenship?

WHITE NOISE/BLACK MASKS, has been mounted separately  at two major arts institutions:



August 19, 2017

YBCA (Yerba Buena Center for the Arts): Public Square: What Does Equity Look Like? Why Citizenship?

Second Installation

September 15, 2017

BAM/PFA(Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives)

The project conceptualizes and replicates, in a not-so-subtle way, the challenge  and the ubiquity of white supremacy, white noise and white space, and its often benign violence, and utter vacuousness, even (especially) in the face of Black & POC artistic voice and vision, by which it is threatened and which it resists. The events so far, have been discomforting and de-centering for the viewer/istener, and a powerful affirmation to the voices within the noise, speaking to it, at it, through it, above it or drowned out by it. Often the readers say, "Fuck, that's exactly what it feels like." So far, poets Arisa White, Charif Shanahan, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Juba Kalamka, James Cagney, Nancy Johnson James, and Michal MJ Jones have stepped into the white noise.

White Noise/Black Masks is an iterative, mobile and site-specific  installation. “White Noise”, the white supremacist, far-right, and conservative Christian systemic project of dominant narrative making and enforcing -- silences the stories, strivings & possibilities of black and marginalized voices. By creating a sonic stage, wherever there is white supremacy, the innocuousness display of “White Noise Machines” (loudspeakers and monitors) emitting, playing  and simultaneously creating an environment that holds both the bent, life-cancelling “White Noise” and simultaneously centering black and marginalized creative, prophetic and political voices within the white walls/halls of silence, “White Noise/Black Masks”, metaphorically inverts the meaning of who gets drowned out.

Typically used to create confidential speaking environments, free of eavesdropping or incrimination, white noise machines  now beg the question, “How high must black people  turn up the volume to be heard over the din of oppression?" 

If you are interested in bringing a "White Noise/Black Masks" installation or experience  to your community and would like to have a conversation about costs, lesson plans, study-guides, or curriculum that is rooted in poetry as social justice, please  contact Marvin here

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