The Clocktower Gallery presents the performance Habit Towards Obedience by Jesse Hlebo. In his performance, Hlebo takes the United States' prison system as its starting point. He is accompanied by John Colpitts (Kid Millions, of Onedia, Man Forever, Boredoms) on drums, Caroline Busta and Fay Victor.
Habit Towards Obedience consists of three movements based on the U.S. prison system.
The first movement is an extraction of rhythms from prison spirituals and gospel songs played by Kid Millions on a single snare.
The second movement consists of a text created by Caroline Busta and Jesse Hlebo. The text is an amalgamation of writings and quotes related to the U.S. prison system, re-structured into a liturgical format.
The attendee's are led in the reading of the text by Jesse Hlebo.
The third and final movement is Billy Taylor's song "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free" sung and repeated three time's by Fay Victor. Each subsequent repetition decreases in tempo.
Upon entering the Clocktower Gallery's building at 108 Leonard St, itself a center of criminal court's, attendees are required to pass through a security check point. Proceeding to the twelfth floor, and then onto the thirteenth via a fire exit stairwell, attendees are subjected to further check points instituted by Hlebo.
In order to enter the gallery in which the piece occurs, attendees are required to take off their shoes and place their cell phone's inside, refrain from photography, and are not allowed to sit inside of the space during the duration of the piece.
Six orange prison jumpsuits, acquired from Bob Barker Company, Inc., are hung in front of the windows. Hlebo masqueraded as a correctional facility in order to acquire the jumpsuits.
PDF of the second movement can be downloaded here
JJesse Hlebo is a New York City based artist.
His work explores the ways in which societal power structures, methods of associated control, and autonomous actions are disseminated via mass media. The work is resistant to 'facts' and 'objective truths' and so often violates its own meaning.
Each project is vulnerable; it could easily self-destruct.
Jesse has exhibited, performed, and curated numerous solo and group shows internationally. Venues and spaces include the MoMA Library, MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Clocktower Gallery, Museum of Arts and Design, Printed Matter, Inc, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and Signal in NYC, Family in Los Angeles, Edel Assanti in London, UK, the Khyber Center for Contemporary Art and NSCAD in Halifax, Nova Scotia, among others.
Jesse is the co-founder of _ Quarterly, a publication based on obsolescence, and is the founder of Swill Children, a small press and record label focusing on notions of value as they pertain to small run, physical objects. He is the founding editor of Paperweight, a collectively operated site devoted to facilitating a critical dialogue on, and providing resources for, independent publishing. He holds a position on P-MAG (the Printed Matter Advisory Group).