This performance takes on the form of a Tableau Vivant, in other words, a living image. A tableau vivant is performed in silence, motionless, and without a written narrative. Sims, being African American himself, wanted to create images based on recent racial violent cases.
The performance highlighted the simple activities of The Black Body that resulted in death. These activities include: Going to church (Charleston Church Massacre), Playing Outside (Tamir Rice case), Exercising ( Ahmaud Arbery), Purchasing Candy (Trayvon Martin), Driving (Sandra Bland and many others), and Breathing ( Eric Garner and George Floyd). The list is unfortunately expanding. Sims chose to wear a mask during the performance to make the black body a universal black body.
Sims stated that the performance was inspired by Harvey Young’s book Embodying Black Experience, in which Young stated:
“Although Black Bodies vary, thus preventing them from having exactly the same experience, the similarities in how they are seen constitutes a relatable experience.”
The Black Body not only explores the embodiment of the victims but also creates an image of how they are seen by nonminority groups, which is often a statistic and not an individual.
Anthony Sims is a Chicago based interdisciplinary time-based Performance Artist / Theatre Maker whose mission is to embody black and queer experiences through performance. Being a queer man of color coming from the south, he looks for ways of pushing against existing norms of art to convey honesty through incongruity. He is currently earning his MFA in Performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.