While We Played Dances

Image: Detail of Louis Armstrong’s autobiographical manuscript. c/o Anthony Alvarez.

Shine Portrait Studio

While We Played Dances is an activation by Shine Portrait Studio. Conceptualized by artist and Shine Director, Nick Kline who is also an RU-N assistant professor of photography and digitally montaged by photographer Anthony Alvarez, Shine Studio Supervisor. The work was created in conjunction with the upcoming Tanner Lecture on Human Values Festival, taking place at Rutgers University – Newark  on April 21-28, 2019, under the title of “Flowing: Human Migrations and Human Values.”  In conjunction with the Institute of Jazz Studies, this installation activates the themes of human movements and agency because, in the words of RU-N professor and New Arts Justice founder Salamishah Tillet, “Jazz was born in and from the Great Migration as America’s first modern movement.”

A conceptual portrait, While We Played Dancestakes its title from a passage on the first page of Louis Armstrong’s autobiographical manuscript, which can be seen in the installation. Born in 1901 in New Orleans, LA, Louis Armstrong was a monumental jazz trumpeter, vocalist, composer, and actor. His life ended in 1971 in Corona, Queens, NY.