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Archive: Wu Tsang
Over the past few years Brooklyn based photographer, publisher and writer Amos Mac (picture by Elisa Shea) has been doing an amazing job in documenting and pushing forward queer and trans* culture in the US and worldwide. I’ve already posted about Amos’ work as the founder and editor of the wonderful trans guys magazine Original Plumbing and his new Translady Fanzine, this time I want to focus on his colorful and powerful portraits of queer, trans* and gender non-conforming artists, performers and musicians, such as OPM co-founder Rocco Katrastrophe, Cody Critcheloe aka Ssion, the House of Ladosha Crew, Hunx or Black Cracker.
The pictures shown here are only a collection of personal favorites taken from the photographer’s website and his tumblr, where you find many more facets of his work. The one on top of the gallery, a portrait of Cunty Crawford Ladosha, was just recently shown at the exhibition Testimony: A Living Exhibition Of Queer Youth at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York. Amos’ latest project is a video campaign entitled “Talk About It”, which seeks to adress adult suicide in the queer community and strengthen the trans community from within.
Another exciting movie I’ve stumbled upon during the research for the “Queer Film Archive Berlin” project (see sidebar). Wildness by Los Angeles based artist and filmmaker Wu Tsang is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a bar in city’s MacArthur Park area, which has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since the early sixties. The movie, which premiered at MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight and was shown earlier this year at SXSW and the Whitney Biennial, explores what happened when Wu and and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom started a experimental party entitled “Wildness” at the Silver Platter, which brought a new clientele and new cultural impulses to the place.
As someone who is very skeptical about the idea of “taking over” long-established places as a cultural practice (which is something that has been very popular amongst queer party organizers in Berlin and other metropoles as well, think of Pork or Arm&Sexy here), I’m really curious what kind of story Wu tells and to what conclusions he comes, so I hope I’ll get to see “Wildness” sometime soon. Screening dates can be found on the film’s website, as well as the director’s blog, which I also recommend. Picture on top: Production still by Love Ablan.
The video below portrays LA based artists Heather Cassils and Zackary Drucker, who both just took part in a performance event entitled “Transactivation: Revealing Queer Histories in the Archive”. The evening was organized in conjunction with the exhibition ”Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945-1980” at LAs ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, which explores the relationship between artistic practices and LGBTQ histories in LA by displaying different items from the archive in a new context. Cassils and Drucker were two of four artists (+ Wu Tsang / Chris Vargas) who were putting their bodies on display as part of the exhibition as an artistic respond to the fact that the archive lacks of representations of trans people and queer people of color. The mini-documentary by photographer and videographer Mae Ryan was produced for the LA public radio channel KPCC in conjunction with the event and focuses on the body politics of both artists. There’s also an audio version and a printed version of Ryan’s interviews on the KPCC website. For more of their work check out the links below, as well as for more information about the exhibition. By the way: doesn’t the title of the show somehow sound familiar to you? (via AccidentalBear.com)