Queer Traces

presented in partnership with mac birmingham

16 May – 3 July 2015

Working across two venues, Vivid Projects and mac birmingham partner to present Queer Traces, a programme of screening events, performance and live audio-visual interventions exploring queer glamour and contested sexuality. Join us for a joyful sampling of the androgynous black figure, voguing, hip-hop and pop culture.




SATURDAY 16 MAY, 5-8PM | Vivid Projects | admission free

Black Hole Club members Michael Lightborne and Kate Spence present a live AV installation deconstructing Jennie Livingston’s seminal documentary of the 80s vogue ball scene Paris is Burning (1990). The installation will feature the durational performance ‘Strike a Pose’ by Kate Spence, Lightborne’s ‘New Gods’ video sculptures, and a throbbing, otherworldly, disco soundtrack. Presented as part of Museums at Night 2015.

Admission free, no booking required.


Harrold Offeh (mac image)

FRIDAY 22 MAY, 7-10PM | Hexagon Theatre, mac 
Harrold Offeh performs Covers: Graceful Series, followed by Q&A
+ live performance by Kate Spence

Harold Offeh born in Accra, Ghana is an artist who works in a range of media including performance, video, photography and interactive and digital media, employing humour as a means to confront the viewer with an assessment of contemporary popular culture.

For Queer Traces, Offeh will perform new and adapted durational work from his acclaimed ‘Covers’ project, an ongoing series of performances in which he attempts to transform a series of music album covers from the 70s & 80s into durational performances. The series has been developed through photographs, video and live performance.

Graceful is a body of work that examines the image and iconography of the model, singer and actress, Grace Jones. In the work, Offeh attempts to recreate Jones’ impossible Arabesque pose from the Island Life album cover, the original being a highly manipulated realisation of the classic image of an exotic, androgynous black figure.

Graceful will be preceded by a pole performance by live artist Kate Spence. Intimacy, desire and power dynamics inform Spence’s practice, often putting herself and the audience into submissive/dominant roles. Live Documentation by Open Aperture UK.

… and of course, we had to have a Vogue soundtrack curated by DJ Greg Haines in the Arena bar!

Admission £7 (£5). Book to reserve your place.
Please note, this performance contains full frontal male nudity


Rashaad Newsome (mac image)

FRIDAY 03 JULY, 8.30PM | Cinema, mac birmingham
Rashaad Newsome | Shade Compositions (screening)

Rashaad Newsome is a visual artist whose work synthesises high and low culture through a distinctive visual language that cuts across art, fashion and music. Based in New York, he is becoming known as the “artist who introduced voguing to the Whitney Biennial, rap to Performa 11, and A$AP Mob to fine art” (Katie Cercone, Arts Papers, 2014). His work celebrates the fluidity of gender and addresses issues of race, class and sexuality through a sampling of visual and cultural symbols associated with contemporary African-American culture. Newsome’s work destabilises the uber-masculinity associated with hip-hop and celebrates the embodied protest symbolised by the international vogueing scene : emerging as an aesthetic queering of gender boundaries.

Newsome’s performance-video Shade Compositions features a chorus of artists and drag performers and is composed of the repeated gestures, movements, and vocalisations of the iconic ‘black diva’.  Newsome acts as composer-conductor, remixing the audio in real-time using a hacked Nintendo® Wii™ game controller, transforming ‘ghetto gestures’  into a modern day chamber music performance.

Admission £7.50 (£5.50) –  or add a ticket for the screening of Paris is Burning (03 July, 9.45pm) and get a double bill ticket offer for just £10. Book to reserve your place


FRIDAY 03 JULY, 9.45PM | Cinema, mac birmingham
Jennie Livingston | Paris Is Burning (1991, 78 min)

Cult sensation and classic of documentary cinema, Paris Is Burning depicts the drag ball scene and the origins of the ‘voguing’ dance style in 1980s New York . Acclaimed by critics as a thoughtful, exhilarating study of gender, class, and race, this must see film was a Grand Jury Prize Documentary winner at Sundance Film Festival 1991.

Admission £7.50 (£5.50) or or add a ticket for Rashaad Newsome’s Shade Compositions (03 July, 8.30pm) and get a double bill ticket offer for just £10. Book to reserve your place.


All bookings online at mac birmingham or telephone 0121 446 3232.

Queer Traces is curated by Vivid Projects in partnership with mac birmingham. The programme is presented as part of the BFI Film Audience Network (BFI FAN), a major initiative developed by the BFI to enable film and events experts to work in partnership to boost film audiences across the UK, particularly in the areas of specialised and independent British film.





SFMOMA Rashaad_Newsome-90 Venus Xtravaganza