‘We’re In the Age of the Remix’: Watch Jacolby Satterwhite Use His Own Body to Shift Perceptions of His Persona

As part of a collaboration with Art21, hear news-making artists describe their inspirations in their own words.

Production still from the Art21
Production still from the Art21 "New York Close Up" film, "Jacolby Satterwhite Dances with His Self." © Art21, Inc. 2013.

Earlier this year, artist Jacolby Satterwhite made headlines for his collaboration with Solange on her futuristic, dream-inflected visual album, When I Get Home. Now, even more viewers will have a chance to experience Satterwhite’s trippy multimedia art thanks to two new shows: “Room for Living” at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia and “You’re at home,” opening at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn next month.

In 2013, as part of Art21’s “New York Close Up” series, Satterwhite discussed how he first began using his own body as the subject of his work. “We’re in the age of the remix,” he said. “It’s about how you use the information around you to generate your individuality.” For him, that means drawing from social media, technology, art history, and his own personal experiences as inspiration.

Growing up in South Carolina, Satterwhite began making art with his mother, who had a mental illness, and used drawing as a way to maintain a sense of control. Those drawings are incorporated in The Matriarch’s Rhapsody, he told Art21.

Another work was informed by his two-year struggle with cancer as a child, “my body got disrupted,” he said. As a result, he began adopting alternate personas, wearing custom-made costumes fitted with iPhones and filming himself on the streets of New York. He then combines his videos with narrative storylines filmed in his studio, setting his avatars against psychedelic neon backgrounds.

Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s “New York Close Up” series, below. “Jacolby Satterwhite: Room for Living” is on view at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia through January 19, 2020. “Jacolby Satterwhite: You’re at home” is on view at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn from October 4–November 24, 2019. 

This is an installment of “Art on Video,” a collaboration between artnet News and Art21 that brings you clips of newsmaking artists. A new season of the nonprofit Art21’s flagship Art in the Twenty-First Century television series is available now on PBS. Catch all episodes of New York Close Up and Extended Play and learn about the organization’s education programs at Art21.org.


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