Franklin Furnace Fund Recipients 2013-14

(Brooklyn, NY)Reginald M. Lamar

Surveillance Punishment and The Black Psyche

Out of the constant violent and sexualized surveillance of the black male body – plantation overseer, the NBA, stop and frisk, prisons, etc. – emerge M. Lamar’s new music theater piece for countertenor and piano, Surveillance Punishment and the Black Psyche. Utilizing multiple live and prerecorded camera feeds, this plantation fantasy explores surveillance from the point of view of a black man condemned to death for the murder of his male overseer with whom he has fallen in love. Surveillance plumbs the deepest darkest depths of interracial desire and our interracial culture. Musically and theatrically, Surveillance explores the internalization of power and oppression and how blackness is, under white supremacy, always under surveillance and subject to punishment.


M. Lamar writes songs that are a product of his African American heritage, drawing heavily from the negro spiritual. Combined with his operatic voice and piano playing that is at once interested in western classical music and dissonant black metal, Lamar’s sound attempts to make one think that things are so catastrophic that the world might end at the conclusion of one of his tracks.

Lamar’s work has been presented internationally, most recently at WWDIS Fest in Gothenburg and Stockholm; Queer-Feminist Anti-Racist Performance Festival Stockholm Sweden; Performatorum Regina Canada; The International Theater Festival Donzdorf, Germany; Cathedral of St. John the Divine New York; and The African American Arts and Culture Complex, San Francisco, among others.