"We must fight to be seen, as we see, through the fences into the play yards we are kept out of," says Dr. D-L Stewart, in Dion McKenzie a.k.a. TYGAPAW's (NYC) operatic techno EP Ode to Black Trans Lives. From the gharanas of New Delhi to the Balls of New York, these sites of collectivity have long been a space to subvert colonial power and reposition agency within trans* bodies. This exhibition celebrates the spatialities, rhythms and choreographies that compose the resilient force of trans* led community gathering, offering not only safety, but also affirmation and care.
Will Fredo (Berlin) & LoMaasBello (Bogota) locate the history of the black/trans* party as a "liberatory situation," alongside Jasmine Infiniti (NYC), founder of label New World Dysorder, who melds the heritage of Detroit techno with ballroom sounds. Habibitch (Paris) presents a video translation of their lauded lecture-performance Decolonize the Dancefloor, while 7thGrl a.k.a. Liniya (Boston) vogues her way into digital representation via Second Life. Bhenji Ra (Sydney) and Grace Banu (Chennai) each present archival glimpses from their communities; Bhenji documenting intimacy and indomitability within her family House of Slé, and Grace narrating the journey of organizing structures of self-sufficiency and dignity in the form of a co-operative colony for trans-women in Tamil Nadu, India. Each work reclaims the legacies of the Global South to manifest a future of collective trans* agency. Jonathan Eden (Seattle) takes us furthest, to the Interstellar realm of 2121, illustrating the ability-accessible after party we can't wait to upload our selves into.
In an earlier iteration of the exhibition materials, quotes from the EP 'Ode To Black Trans Lives' were incorrectly attributed to music producer Dion McKenzie. These quotes are from Dr. D-L Stewart's talk "Scenes from a Black trans life," quoted in the aforementioned EP. The curators deeply regret the miscredit.
After Party Collective, formed by artist-curator duo Vidisha-Fadescha and Shaunak Mahbubani, acts in the intersections between curatorial and performance practices. Expanding the Party as a site for critical praxis they produce spaces of embodied thinking to create momentum towards affirmation of trans*, intersex, non-binary, gnc, and poly-gendered bodies. Through recent projects — Queer Futures Potluck Party held at Goethe-Institute/ Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi, Queer Futures Archive exhibited in Parramatta NSW, video work Some Dance to Remember, Some Dance to Forget screened at Nottingham Arts Mela, and upcoming publication co-curated with Party Office Consent of the Governed: Kink, Constitution and Race — they are energizing choreographies of collectivity, agency, legality, and pleasure.