States Of Being

Daniel Watts in conversation with work by Nick Cave

Artist Page

"I had a dream that I woke up to an American nightmare." Actor and writer, Daniel J. Watts, opens his performance with these words in response to Platform, a multi-sculpture installation by Nick Cave, created in 2018 as a reflection on the racial violence and early deaths of Black people across America. As Watts moves through the room, the work reverberates with his words and movements, making the urgency of their message visceral.  

The reciprocal relationship between Watts and the artwork can be seen in moments of improvised dialogue and interaction. The repeated refrain, “our fists are loud,” punctuates the piece as Watts punches the air and raises his fist in the gesture of Black power, protest, and solidarity, mirroring the bronze fists and chain of gripped hands cast from Cave's own body. Watts sings into the bell of an oversized gramophone, his voice echoing from an object that was once starkly silent. 

In this powerful performance, Watts evokes a range of emotions - anger, strength, joy, tenderness, and grief. Ending on a solemn and hopeful note, he offers a soft chorus: "Reach out and touch somebody's hand, make this world a better place, if you can."

Nick Cave Platform, 2018 mixed media installation including a chain of bronze hands, four gramophones, heads, pillows and carved eagles dimensions variable Inquire