The leaders of Flux Night are making some changes. After a year’s hiatus, the organizers will present — 7 p.m.-midnight on November 7 — an event that is much more tightly curated and focused on a theme.
The festival will also take place in a new location, a roughly six-block area that wraps around the Martin Luther King Jr. Center with Jackson Street as its western border, Auburn Avenue on the north, Howell on the east and Edgewood on the south.
“I hope [Flux Night] will be an opportunity to walk through the Old Fourth Ward and feel, dream and wonder about the potential futures and complicated pasts inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” says guest curator Nato Thompson.
ArtsATL has mapped out a walking tour that will enable you to see it all. Herewith, our suggested route. Grab a map and follow along.
Enter at the corner of Auburn and Jackson in front of Ebenezer Baptist Church, which will be open until 8 p.m. for those who would like to visit.
In the parkland across from Ebenezer Baptist Church is a small amphitheater. Stephon Ferguson will take the stage with his performance The Dream Lives, a pitch-perfect compilation of the speeches and sermons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 20-minute performance will be performed every hour on the half-hour beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Walk through the wooded area towards the entrance to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site (not to be confused with the King Center). Projected on a large wall in front of the Visitor’s Center will be A Complete and Totally Indefensible History of Black Cinema, an impressionistic sampling curated by the famous black cinematographer Arthur Jafa, curator Elissa Moorhead and curator Rashida Bumbray.
On your way back to Auburn Avenue, you will encounter photographs printed on scrims by Atlanta artist Sheila Pree Bright from her 1960 Now series. These contemporary portraits from Ferguson, Baltimore, Atlanta and Washington D.C., capture the vitality and dedication of those involved in the current Black Lives Movement. Visitors are invited to comment on a chalk wall located among the photographs. Bright is the one artist at Flux Night whose work is located in different sites. As you walk east on Auburn, you will see others from this series projected on the wall of the fire station on the corner of Auburn and Boulevard.
If you continue along the north side of Auburn into the more residential neighborhood lined with shotgun houses, you will encounter people talking soapbox-style in the performance, Statements. Thompson, with the help of Atlantan Charmaine Minniefield, selected the wide-ranging group of local residents, politicians, musicians, poets and others to speak on King’s legacy, lending their individual thoughts and styles to what Thompson hopes will be an “opera of articulations.”
Continuing east on Auburn, cross the street to see a large video installation. Question Bridge: Black Males by the collaborative team of Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, Bayete Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclaire depicts black men asking and responding to questions about what it feels like to be a black man in today’s society. Presented here as a video projection showing a grid of six men at a time, the project, according to the author, “reflects the diversity of thought, character and identity in the black male population so rarely seen in American media.”
Now on the south side of Auburn, head back towards Boulevard, where the voices of the Spelman College Glee Club will lure you behind the King birth home into Passage of Sankofa & Nkonsonkonson, an installation by Atlanta artist Jessica Scott Felder. Their songs will set the tone for her winding charcoal drawings, which features Civil Rights and community leaders linked arm in arm.
This is a good time to wander through the King Center. Though the doors will close at 8:00 p.m., the fountain containing the casket of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be lit.
Back on Boulevard, head south to find Courtesy the Artists‘ futuristic installation, The Parable. The collaborative duo Malik Gaines and Alex Segade have fashioned a multimedia presentation based on the works of science fiction writer Octavia Butler in what promises to be a spectacle of words, video, performance and a 10-person gospel choir organized by Atlantan Doria Roberts.
When you hit Edgewood, take a left and travel up the north side of the street to hear the cool beats of Atlanta’s Bent Frequency playing the musical instruments in artist Pedro Reyes‘ installation, Disarm. Make sure to look at the instruments closely: They are all fabricated from destroyed weapons the artist collected in his native Mexico City.
Crossing the street and heading back west on Edgewood, you will find Otabenga Jones & Associates‘ (Dawolu Jabari Anderson, Jamal Cyrus, Kenya Evans, Robert A. Pruitt) bright Pink 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. In honor of WRED, the first black-owned and operated radio station in the U.S., which was located on Auburn Avenue, the group has organized OJTL FM, a live-broadcast radio show that will feature interviews with local personages interspersed with music by local DJs. (Photo above)
Traveling west on the south side of Edgewood, be sure to stop at the tent at the corner of Boulevard to purchase your Flux Night memorabilia (t-shirts, posters, magnets, bumper stickers). Not only can you commemorate your experience, but you will be supporting the organization. (Remember, this is a free event and your purchases will help ensure Flux Night’s future.)
Just across Boulevard, sneak through the chain link fence and add your voice to Jennifer Wen Ma‘s Bending the Arc. You will hear “Bending the Arc,” a song composed by Jeryl Bright and performed by Nathaniel ‘RDK’ Williams & the Georgia Tech Chorale and Chamber Choir directed by Timothy Hsu. If you sing and speak along, your voice will alter a laser of light projected against the building wall.
Continuing west on Edgewood, take in the spectacle of The Center for Tactical Magic‘s Freedom Fighter Round 1- Fight for $15.00. Inspired by the current campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, the project invites performers into an inflatable boxing ring to battle with foam bats against well-known mascots from fast food restaurants such as Ronald McDonald, Burger King or Colonel Sanders.
If you cross the street to the north side of Edgewood and begin to make your way back towards Boulevard, you will encounter more of Bright’s 1960 Now, including both her photos and a comment wall.
The last stop on the tour, near the corner of Edgewood and Boulevard, is Yoko Ono‘s Imagine Peace. The participatory work invites viewers to use her stamp to mark places on the large-scale map of the world where they would like to envision peace.
There is a coda: Visitors are encouraged to congregate at the Bending the Arc installation just before the event closes at midnight and join in singing. If the collective volume is high enough, the laser will not just fluctuate but actually arch into a steam-filled sky — one final nod to Reverend King, Jr., who once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
Parking in the neighborhood is limited. Visitors are encouraged to take MARTA to the King Memorial station, the streetcar to the corner of Auburn and Jackson, or bike and use the bike valet provided by the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition. You can also take Uber with the code FLUXNIGHT, Lyft or a taxi. Because the tour is roughly a circular path, those coming by bike via the Atlanta BeltLine can jump in at a different point, but please note that the works on the east end of Auburn Avenue are scheduled to close earlier than the rest due to their location in a residential neighborhood.
To learn more about these options and read more on the specific artists and their projects, visit Flux Projects’ website.