Artist-in-Residence Ada Pinkston’s Interactive Performance on Rockville Campus

Artist-in-Residence Ada Pinkston gave an interactive performance Thursday, April 21st at the Rockville Campus that focused on the significance of public monuments.

Morgan McHenry

Artist-in-Residence Ada Pinkston has been leading workshops with students on the Rockville and Germantown campuses of Montgomery College focused on the question, What Would a Monument that Reflects the Students of Montgomery College Look Like? Students created monuments in response to this prompt, and the finished monuments were on display outdoors on the Rockville and Germantown campuses April 18th-28th. As part of the project, Pinkston performed an interactive piece on Thursday, April 21 at the Rockville Campus.

Pinkston stated that her performance is part of a larger vision she has been working on to examine how to create spaces and monuments that are inclusive to multiple perspectives and narratives. “It’s about how to create a monument out of the many. How do we create a space for multiple peoples’ perspectives to be heard and seen in a public space… and how do we center everyone regardless of race or gender?”

Pinkston’s performance was set against a backdrop of physical structures showcasing students’ artwork reflecting monuments. The artist started by ceremoniously carrying and placing two different pillars between the constructed monuments showcasing student work. After several minutes, the artist broke her silence by calling out questions to viewers such as “When was the last time you visited a monument?”

Pinkston did so while passing out papers with different questions printed on each one, such as “What spaces are sacred to you?” while a soundtrack of questions and answers recorded by Pinkston played in the background. Pinkston has been distributing these questions over a period of time, and currently has around 400-500 responses. The soundtrack playing in the background included her reading several of the responses she has collected. Pinkston stated that the questions are a way for her to prompt participants to investigate the ways in which they recognize stories from the past.

The end of the performance included inviting viewers to participate with her in walking in a circle while shouting out prompts suggested by the participants themselves such as, “we are free!”

On the performance as a whole Pinkston seeks to express that people are living embodied monuments; “we are also living histories too, so the prompts are creating questions for people to think through what monuments are.”

Ada Pinkston is a multimedia artist, educator, and cultural organizer. She is currently a lecturer at Towson University and an Adjunct Instructor and Visiting Artist at the
Maryland Institute College of Art.

You can find more information about the artist at