Exhibition Statement

September 5 – October 14, 2017 • California College of the Arts • Hubbell Street Galleries

Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. investigates the role systems play in the generation of form and specifically how the data drawn from a linguistic analysis of hip-hop reveal a layer of aesthetics that are music related yet non-musical.

The result of creative research and inspired by Pablo Picasso’s light pen drawings, Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. uses abstracted semantic rap data to create sculptural forms.

Geographic mentions from the complete bodies of work of 12 rappers were extracted using the language analysis database invented by Hemphill – the Rap Almanac. These locations were translated into geographic coordinates, which were then made into points used to plot the movements of an industrial robot arm.

For several minutes at a time, the robot arm drew paths while holding a light pen which produced sculptural forms made with light. Each unique shape represents the global distance traveled by the content embedded in each artist’s lyrics.

Comprised of photographs, video, sculpture, objects that document Hemphill’s interstitial processes, and accompanied by narrative and expository texts, Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. provides a unique context for understanding hip-hop culture’s universal connections.

As a complement to the exhibition, Hemphill will facilitate the Rap Research Lab, a space for community scholars, academics, technologists, artists and hip-hop practitioners to use rap lyrics as a lens through which we can better understand popular and youth culture, explore questions of social justice, and facilitate empowerment through community data projects.

Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. was commissioned by California College of the Arts and is supported in part by the Creative Capital Foundation, the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Interested in presenting Maximum Distance. Minimum Displacement. at your institution? Contact us at info [at] staplecrops [dot] com.