Presented by the Queer Cultural Center (QCC) as part of the 2017 National Queer Arts Festival, From Self to #Selfie will open on Saturday, June 3.
Curated by artistic director Rudy Lemcke, the exhibition features the work of eight nationally recognized performance/video artists whose work reflects the cutting edge of the complex and intersectional issues that queer artists and activists encounter. The exhibition consists of large-scale video projections that will be continuously streaming in SOMArts’ Main Gallery throughout the month of June. The featured artists include: Kia LaBeija, Awilda Rodriguez Lora, Cassils, M. Lamar, A.L Steiner, Boychild, Tina Takemoto, and Evan Ifekoya.
Any queer cultural history is a history of the desire to self-present and construct images of the self to others. From Self to #Selfie examines queer self-representation in the light of the revolutionary transformation of culture that is taking place through digital technology.
The exhibition asks: Where do I “exist” in the network of information that is instantly made available through a touch of our smart-phone’s interface? Where do I “exist” in the multiplicity of screen instances, recursively generated by the image I call #selfie?
The exhibition offers eight explorations of the body mediated through the digital screen. The intimate acts of performance encoded by these videos with their gestures of attention and affection together manifest a complex queer cultural ecosystem – a queer public commons within which the self becomes re-presented and re-imagined in relation to a referential field of other screen selves presented in the exhibition.
The individual performances of self become unanchored from the moment of their creation (as live event) and become fluid agents in a network of provisional queer meanings. The networked self exists in this new relational order as ecstatic-self — as selfie.
The Main Gallery exhibition will also include a video projection of over 100 #Selfies solicited from of artists, writers and cultural activists who have been presented by the National Queer Arts Festival over the past twenty years. Selfies from Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP); Fresh Meat, Radar Productions, Queer Rebels, Topsy Turvy, Center for Sex and Culture, Still Here, and other BFFs of the National Queer Arts Festival will be displayed throughout the June exhibition and will be featured on the Creative Labor website.
SOMArts Gallery Annex
In the Main Gallery annex, QCC will present RETRIEVAL, created by artist by E.G. Crichton. This video projection will feature portraits of artists and activists, past and present, from around the world that collect and preserve LGBTQ histories.
Archives represented include: Adarna Food and Culture Restaurant, Philippines; The Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives; The Fonds Suzan Daniel, Belgium; GALA, South Africa; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender Historical Society, San Francisco, USA; Glasgow Women’s Library, Scotland, United Kingdom; Hall-Carpenter Archives, London, United Kingdom; Il Cassero and Centro di Documentazione, Bologna, Italy; Labrisz Lesbian Association, Hungary; The Leslie Lohman Museum, New York, USA; The National Archives, London, United Kingdom; rukus!, United Kingdom; Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries, Virginia, USA.
Image credits (from top to bottom): Kia LaBeija, Dove, video, 4:51 min., digital video, Directed by Jacob Krupnick; boychild, DLIHCYOB, digital, 4:33 minutes, Directed by Mitch Moore, 2012; E.G. Crichton, photo courtesy of the artist.