"In Exchange, the self portrait video component of the installation, McCallum and Tarry explore interracial
relationships through their own bodies in a highly personal and carefully composed encounter. The two artists—identically clad in blue jeans and crisp, white tailored shirts trimmed with a paisley pattern, draw blood from one another’s forearms and subsequently “exchange” their blood. As the narrative unfolds, the viewer witnesses each artist’s blood traveling through medical tubing to finally meet that of the other, implying that their blood is one and the same. Cutting back and forth between shots featuring the artists’ tense faces and shots showing only fragments of their arms, this video resonates with individual and collective meaning. Both the video and wallpaper subtly refer to the “One Drop Rule,” according to which a person with as little as “one drop” of black blood in his or her body was considered “colored.” This nineteenth-century law was originally instated as a means of increasing the slave population of mixed-race children born into slavery in the U.S. and later was used in an activist court that challenged miscegenation laws."
Excerpt from "Whitewash, Bloodlines, Exchange." In Bearing Witness: Work by Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, edited by Jennie Hirsh, 27-29. Baltimore, MD: Maryland Institute College of Art, 2010.
©Exhibition Development Seminar 2009-2010, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA: Baltimore, 2010)
To view or download the entire exhibition catalogue from Bearing Witness: Work by Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry with descriptions of each work as well as a critical essay, please visit the Featured page.