Ashley McClenon


Descent to Float, Video – 8 min.

As a writer and visual artist, Descent to Float explores the monologue voice, racial and sexual identities and the boundaries between fact and fiction. In discussion of family, history and science, the story broken into fragments also recollects ideas of baptism, both the forced and participatory drowning of slaves, and the lack of knowledge that we as humans know of earth’s bodies of water.

As Descent to Float recognizes the radical acts and existence of Black women through generations as they’ve navigated through rigid and racists spaces, raised and empowered alternative families, it also speaks to geographies of water (both physical and spiritual) and the geographies of Black bodies, often times mapped out by social and political constraints.

My piece questions the human body in reference to assigned gender roles historically, racially, and how it acknowledges the absence of women of color within feminists movements. Within the discussion of how far behind we are in our scientific knowledge runs parallel to social and political incapacities and how popular culture can both inform and hinder us– how history can both teach and free us but also how at times it can confine us within the laws and systems that we build throughout life’s forever changing timeline.