Flash Your Lights Logo

Curated by Kristen Gallerneaux
Website by Echo Charlie

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From a network of radios located all over Metro Detroit, across the border into Canada, and down into Ohio, sound effects from the future bounce off the bottom of clouds as far as the transmitters will reach.

“At midnight, if you’re standing near your porch light, will you turn it on for one hour—to show solidarity? If you’re in your car, wherever you are, will you flash your lights and honk your horn? Just to let everyone know you are definitely down in this town? And if you’re in bed, get ready to dance on your back… in Technicolor.”

The invitation to “flash your lights”—in solidarity, in Technicolor—was delivered by an enigma in the form of a Detroit radio DJ. In 1977, on WGPR-FM, the Electrifying Mojo began broadcasting his eclectic mix of music, audio collages, and spoken word segments focused on social and cultural issues in the city. Each night, he asked listeners to imagine futures of peace and positive revolution, united by sound. By the 1980s, at WJLB-FM, Mojo would descend through a cloud of synthesized sound, landing his metaphorical “Mothership” on top of the Penobscot building in downtown Detroit—in Waawiiyaataanong, where the river bends. In the same place where the river bends, it rises back up again, refracting off the Penobscot’s façade, 565 feet to the uppermost floors, where floodlights carry us up towards that iconic red beacon in the sky. And then, we’re on the air. Flash your lights into deep space. Signal out.

Curatorial Vision & Guiding Questions

The artists in this digital exhibition were selected from the 2023 cohort of Kresge Artist Fellows. In their work, there are interlocking rhythms of solidarity, reclamation, and commemoration. The desire to surface the underseen and unheard.

In the process of providing work for this exhibition, artists were asked to consider how sound surfaces in their work, with the model of the Mothership and the communities of listening inspired by The Electrifying Mojo in mind.

  • How is sound audible and present – and where is it implied?
  • What are the defining shout outs, philosophical mixtapes and crossfades found in the collective past, present, and future of this city (or wherever you are)?
  • Who do you talk to? Who do you listen to? Who isn’t listening?
  • What are your sounds of survival? Of peace? Of recursion, of vibrancy?
  • How do you signal out, bringing the things you value most into earshot?
  • How do you flash your lights?
Ackeem Salmon
Brittany Rogers
Cieara Estelle
Edward Salem
Elton Monroy Duran
Erin K. Schmidt
Kimberly LaVonne
Lauren Kalman
Lauren Williams
Louise Jones
Melissa Webb
Miranda Kyle
Quinn Alexandria Hunter
Rita Dickerson
Rory Scott