Anthony Sims: Spectated Specter

An installation in our Milwaukee Avenue Window Gallery

“The Black Body is who we see from the outside perspective. It is imagined and, yet, a highly recognizable figure who shadows the actual, unseen body.” – Harvey Young

With the absence of a live body, and the presence of a digital body through silhouette, Spectated Specter brings forth themes of blackness, queer identity, and isolation. Examining The Black Body as a shadow, and creating a sense of voyeurism through the windows of the gallery, Sims aims to expand the notion of “live” performance during these unprecedented times by removing himself physically from the piece, and creating an illusion of his body through documentation and projection. While the world is experiencing different forms of isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, for some groups this predicament is not unfamiliar. As a black gay man, who has lived in several locations throughout the U.S., Sims recalls a feeling of neglect, sometimes from people of his community. Spectated Specter allows for Sims to take ownership of the shadow, and to examine it through the lens of self-care, joy, and inner beauty.

Anthony Sims is a Chicago based interdisciplinary Performance Artist/ Theatre Maker whose mission is to embody Afro American and queer experiences through performance. His work takes on an existentialist approach by focusing on the autonomy of the body within a systematic society. Utilizing the theory of The Black Body by Harvey Young, Sims explores critical memory of The Black Body by creating experiential overlaps that manifest visibility. The Black Body, whether a knee is on its neck, staged as a criminal, hung from a tree or light post, made to serve at plantations, auctioned off like cattle is a body that is given compulsory visibility. Researching that given visibility, Sims uses interdisciplinary methods through collage by constructing new visibility, thus reclaiming The Black Body. His work has been seen at Links Hall, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, The Chicago Physical Theatre Festival, The Peace Studio, Third Estate Art, Slate Arts, The Center of Afrofuturist Studies, and several other locations. He was just recently an Artist in Residence at the ADDS DONNA gallery in Humboldt Park, and just completed a 26-night performance series at Co-Prosperity. Sims is also included in The Long Dream, a current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art- Chicago.