Slowed and Throwed: Records of the City Through Mutated Lenses is a two-part interdisciplinary exhibition orbiting around the legacy of the late Houston legend DJ Screw. Until his death in 2000, DJ Screw distorted songs by musical artists, creating “chopped and screwed” versions of the original by slowing tempo, reducing pitch, chopping lyrics, and layering freestyles by Houston-based rappers. Known for his signature stretched sound, he also displayed deft skill evident in his transitions, sampling choices, and beat juggling.
The exhibition features unconventional photography and new media created by strategies paralleling the musical methods of the innovative DJ. In their photo-adjacent practices, the participating artists appropriate, mash-up, collage, and mutate photographic inputs, in addition to slowing time. Slowed and Throwed contends that remixing “sampled” materials is a radical aesthetic act utilized by both artists and musicians. Through reconfigurations of sourced and original materials, the featured artists draw attention to inequities stemming from race, gender, and sexual orientation, suggesting new possibilities and alternative realities.
Serving as the physical and conceptual core of Slowed and Throwed is a nesting exhibition of DJ Screw archival materials. Placing the curated archive in dialogue with photo-based artworks demonstrates the resonances between DJ Screw’s creative process and those of the exhibiting artists. Displayed in a gallery built to mirror the edifice of the original location of Screwed Up Records & Tapes on Cullen Boulevard, the archival exhibition is activated by a musical playlist by E.S.G.
Slowed and Throwed is curated by Patricia Restrepo, Exhibitions Manager and Assistant Curator at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; alongside guest curators Big Bubb, Owner of Screwed Up Records & Tapes; and E.S.G., rapper and member of the Screwed Up Click. The exhibition’s research advisors are Julie Grob, Coordinator for Instruction and Curator of Houston Hip Hop Research Collection at the University of Houston Libraries, and Rocky Rockett, independent hip hop educator. The photographic component of Slowed and Throwed serves as CAMH’s presentation in the 2020 FotoFest Biennial, which will take place during the run of this exhibition.