‘The Pendulum’ is a representational piece dealing with the concept of balance and oscillatory nature of culture and society. In perpetual motion, culture swings from one extreme to the other. With every advancement, there is a gravitational force which pulls it in the opposite direction, hoping to restore its distance from “equilibrium” but always seemingly overcompensating for the previous movement. Most recently we, in America, observed the potential energy of a discontent Middle America being converted into a kinetic demonstration of democracy. The intially forceful motion of change – “Yes We Can” - resulted in the realization of America’s first black president immediately followed by the real possiblity of the nation’s first female president. The weight of a controversial war, however, and lingering strains from a painful recession slowed that momentum and created an equal but opposite force entitled “Make America Great Again” - which seeks to restore the nation to a place of perceived “balance.”
Balance, as the pendulum teaches us, is not about perpetually resting in the “middle” but about the sum total of our perpetual motion. Through this lens, we view equilibrium not as a singular point or location but rather as a state-of-being. Left and right exist together not necessarily to oppose each other but to prevent a body in motion from remaining idle. The left cannot exist without the right; up cannot exist without down. In black culture there are several examples. For every Malcolm there is a Martin; for every Booker T there is a W.E.B; for every Frederick Douglass there is a Nat Turner; for every Fresh Prince there is a Tupac. Whether you agree with the philosophy of one side or are somewhere in the middle, advancements in Black America have occurred as a result of opposing movements. African-Americans throughout history have progressed through both peaceful protests and violent uprisings, eloquent speeches and fiery condemnations, diplomatic coalitions and anti-establishment organizations.