PERFORMANCE: Black Joy/White Fragility


Performances un-timed and free with admission.

Text written by the artist

Black Joy/White Fragility is a performance installation that exists in two modes: activated (as a durational performance) and non-activated (as an installation). It’s centered around a QTBIPOC social experience, creating a space that is both healing and transformative in each of its two modes.

The installation is working with light, sound, color, and objects specifically selected to foster a space of healing; and with each performer’s personal histories/ narratives, which accumulate with every performance, throughout the entire presentation of the work.

There are minerals that support these transformations, such as Fluorite or Epidote, each imbued with their own specific and unique qualities. Other objects are present to subvert the institutional context and to transform it into a hybrid social container.

In its activated mode, live performers will dance together to various genres of club music in an unrestricted sociality. There are also ally cast members, performers who support and uphold the work while, at the same time, disrupting the quotidian life of the museum.

On the performance days, the work may only be viewed from the outside and the public may not take video or photographic images of the dancers. Community members may be invited by the performers to amplify the work by dancing alongside the cast.

The thematic locus of Black Joy/White Fragility is the gaze. What kind of environment do we want to create, or what kind is even possible to achieve? What does it do to the notion of transparency to acknowledge that we are being looked at? What is the role of the gaze in a safe/r space?

Our aim is to work with our shared knowledge and to shamelessly perform and embody Black joy. Black Joy/White Fragility works with a non-verbal, kinetic language of kinship, referencing de-aesthetics, disidentification, disorientation, and dis-ruption.

We want to collectively experience the reversal of the institutional gaze, to dance as if everyone is watching. When we consciously activate the gaze, it becomes possible to undo certain traumatic histories of the museum. In that sense, this performative intervention is a radical act of community building.

Black Joy/White Fragility is PoC centered and it touches on Stone Tape theory and The Aesthetics of Possibility.

T-shirts that are worn by the performers are available for sale in Melly's webshop and at the bookshop, as part of a limited edition print. The maxims printed on them are a further vehicle for disseminating the themes of the work outside the institution.

Please note, on the performance days, the work may only be viewed from the outside and the public may not take video or photographic images of the dancers.

Performers by Date

6 October: Ieva Barsauskaite, Estrellx Supernova, Ada M. Patterson, and Mohamed Boujarra

15 October: Ahmed El Gendy, Devika Chotoe, Parisa Madani, Antonella Fittipaldi, Auro Orso, Isabel Kwarteng, Dandelion Eghosa, Esther Arribas, and Carly Rose Bedford

21 October: Sharlan Adams, Mohamed Boujarra, Emanuel Oladokun, Mini Maxwell, G, Annick Kleizen, and Michael Ludwig Tsouloukidse

24 October: Sharlan Adams, Ada M. Patterson, Mini Maxwell, G, Ciro Goudsmit, June Yuen Ting, Roberto Perez Gayo, and Anthony Nestel

DJs: Seven Angels, KILLA, Sophie Ruston, and DJ NEON QUEEN

Awareness mediators: Charlie Serviss and Francelino Lopes

More information about accessibility



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