Do you hear me calling? is a two-channel video made by Theaster Gates for his 2018 solo exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel, entitled Black Madonna.
The larger projection depicts various interventions by Gates’s musical group The Black Monks. The Black Monks are a group of musicians and singers who temporarily submit themselves to ideals of musical restraint and semi-strict adherence to the blues form, which Gates believes to be the most important root in the American musical tradition. The Black Monks strive to be holy, restrained, orderly, and disciplined, but they fall short. What they achieve instead is a very human response to displaced spiritual ecstasy, partic- ularly in the flavor of the Black Church. The smaller projection of this work is intended as a kind of footnote, presenting images from the Johnson Publishing Archive in the form of a slide show.