8:11 min
Video, color, sound
Trainers is a video in which five women train to become revolutionaries or neoliberal consumers. Based on extensive research into Nike commercials produced between 1988 and 2014, Dean creates a set which also draws on Spike Lee’s 1990s Urban Jungle Gym campaign for Nike. Combining a highly abstract stage set based on sneaker designs and alluding to the role of abstraction in art history, Dean investigates the normalization of radical discourses and their recuperation into mainstream culture. The video Trainers is exhibited in an ambiguous setting between a basketball court, a military training ground, and a shopping center.

Sources: Nike advertising campaigns, 1988-2014; Abraham Lincoln, speech in New Haven, Connecticut, 1860; W.E.B. DuBois, speech to members of the Niagara Movement, 1906; Gil Scott-Heron, A New Black Poet: Talk at 125th and Lenox, Flying Dutchman/RCA, 1970; Milton Friedman, Becker Friedman Institute website; bell hooks, Reel to Real: Race, Sex and Class at the Movies, Routledge, 1996; David Cameron, speech on public service reform, 2011; Michelle Obama, speech at the Democratic National Convention, 2012; David Cameron, speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, 2013; Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility,” 2011

Producer/Cinematographer: Luis Guízar
Assistant Director: Mireya Lucio
Art direction: Nicholas Bonamy
Set production assistant: David Bell
Sound: Michael J. Galindo, Caleb Townsend, Larry Zipf, Travis Plummer
Performer: Ashstress Aqwunobi, Danielle Dean, Erin Christovale, Mireya Lucio, Pauline Shaw

Included in exhibition:
ANTI, Athens Biennale 2018
Made in LA, Hammer Museum

Video still, Trainers

Image courtesy of the artist and Athens Biennale
Photo: Nysos Vasilopoulos