Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche
Friday, Feb 13, 2015, 8:00PM
Lecture Hall
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SFAI is pleased to present a one-night performance of Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche. M. Lamar’s music theater piece for countertenor and piano emerges from the constant violent and sexualized surveillance of the black male body—plantation overseer, the NBA, police executions of unarmed black men, the United States penal system. Utilizing multiple live and prerecorded camera feeds, this plantation fantasy explores surveillance from the point of view of a black man condemned to death for the murder of his male overseer with whom he has fallen in love. The work plunges to extreme depths of interracial desire within our interracial culture and history. 

The text for Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche is written by M. Lamar, with additional text by Tucker Culbertson. Music is written by M. Lamar, with art design and video by Sabin Calvert. Live video is by Gigantic. 

Presented in conjunction with M. Lamar: NEGROGOTHIC.


M. Lamar works across opera, metal, performance, video, and sculpture to craft sprawling narratives of racial and sexual transformation. Lamar holds a BFA from SFAI and attended the Yale School of Art, sculpture program, before dropping out to pursue music. Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at Participant Inc., New York; New Museum, New York; Södra Teatern, Stockholm; Warehouse9, Copenhagen; WWDIS Fest, Gothenburg and Stockholm; The International Theater Festival, Donzdorf, Germany; Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York; Performance Space 122, New York; and African American Art & Culture Complex, San Francisco; among others. Lamar has had many years of classical vocal study with Ira Siff, among others; and is a recipient of the Franklin Furnace Fund Grant 2013–14. He recently performed the pre-transition role of Sophia, alongside his twin sister Laverne Cox, in Orange Is the New Black.

M. Lamar, Discipline 2, 2014; video still from Badass Nigga, the Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero Remix, 2013; HD video, sound; 5 minutes