Strange Fruit was an intervention and a performance that took place at the Visual Activism conference held at the Brava Theater in San Francisco, and curated by SFMOMA.
In collaboration with artist Ranu Mukherjee, Mismar curated a playlist of resistance songs including Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, the Beatles’ Revolution, and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. Pianist Grant Levin accompanied vocalist Marissa Katarina Bergmann, who sang the songs in a lounge-style manner during conference lunch breaks and intermissions.
The loungey approach underscored a certain “performativity” of resistance, bringing songs of various weights into one set, all played as ambient music that was largely unnoticed by many conference attendees. Strange Fruit became akin to a number, a routine, where resistance is rehearsed, and tamed.