Archive

  1. A Boy is A Gun

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    Ahead of his solo exhibition at Vivid Projects in May, artist Antonio Roberts sat down with Dr Ian Sergeant for an in-depth discussion about his work, which you can listen to here.

    ‘A Boy is a Gun’ is an exploration of stereotypical roles within video games, black masculinity and the artist’s own experiences of growing up as a black British boy and teen. These themes are explored through the vehicle of the character Skate, from Streets of Rage 2, reimagined by Antonio to better reflect his own life. In this body of work, Roberts blends a gaming world with an all too real experience.

    The exhibition featured a playable video game, a choose your own adventure book, over 50 animations featuring Skate in real locations photographed by the artist, a text-based video, the conversation with Ian Sergeant, and a real life appearance from Skate in the form of a cosplay by Roberts, even down to the roller skates.

  2. Dr XYZ: A Medical Drag Transthology

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    Brought to you by XYZ Projects (CIC), we are delighted to screen Dr XYZ: A Medical Drag Transthology. During August 2023 the collective was resident in the Vivid Lab as part of their production for ‘Dr XYZ’.

    The film engages the untold stories of the trans+ and non-binary community in Birmingham as a collaborative drag anthology on accessing healthcare; and takes the form of a contemporary update on the public information films within the NHS on Film collection to create a satirical take on the healthcare service announcements of the 1960s and 70s.

    XYZ Projects hope the film will help healthcare professionals, and especially GPs, understand the challenges that the trans+ and non-binary community face in social transitioning, bridging prescriptions and shared-care agreements, equipping them to give trans+ and non-binary patients the level of gender-affirming care they need and deserve.

    XYZ Projects are a trans+ film collective based in Birmingham, concerned with community healthcare archiving and collaborative filmmaking. In this iteration El Jones (they/them) independent filmmaker/community archive facilitator, and Dr. Ravi Piccus (he/they) NHS doctor/researcher are co-directors of the collective. Working alongside them on Dr XYZ were Producer: Yasmyn Nettle (they/them), Collective Care Lead: Reuben Liebeskind (they/he), BTS Photographer: TQ Archive (they/them) and on music they have Transistrrr (she/her) and Lai Fransisco (they/she).

    The film is produced as part of the NHS Untold Stories Initiative, with funding received from the British Film Institute(BFI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council(AHRC) with production support from Vivid Lab.

    Screenings:

    5-8pm, June 7. Part of Digbeth First Friday at Vivid Projects Minerva Works. Free, drop in.

    2-4pm 8 June. Queering the information film: screening and discussion at Vivid Projects Allison Street. Free, pre-booking required and tickets available here.

  3. Antonio Roberts Research Residency

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    Antonio Roberts works with technology in innovative ways, exploring authorship, gaming, digital and reproduction. This spring, his research residency focuses on developing an experimental narrative fiction game using Twine software.  A Boy is a Gun presents a new fictional narrative to reimagine stereotypical roles with gaming, with main character  Skate Hunter (from Streets of Rage)  set in the world of Super Mario Bros. Streets of Rage 2 was the first game to feature the character Skate and in his artworks, Roberts draws from the original narrative and existing fan fiction to interrogate the ways in which Skate’s characterisation draws on stereotypes of Black masculinity. In the new game, Skate is rendered as the ‘child’ – or teen – that his interactions with family indicate, rather than the combative adult male familiar from the original game.

    This reimagining of roles within gaming follows on from Roberts’ 2021 work Heavyweight Champ, which critiqued the stereotypical portrayal of Black men which was prevalent in early video games.

    Save the date: 3rd May, Digbeth First Friday is 10!

    May 2024 marks the 10th birthday of Digbeth First Friday. To celebrate, we are delighted to share A Boy Is A Gun – new work from Antonio Roberts, who in 2014 featured in Vivid Projects inaugural First Friday event! 

    The Skate character is central to a playable version of the research, which is presented alongside videos further exploring the narrative and a recorded conversation between the artist and Dr Ian Sergeant.

    3rd May 5-8pm (late opening for Digbeth First Friday birthday celebration)

    4th May 1-5pm

    Continues 9th-11th May, 1-5pm

    Venue: Vivid Projects, 16 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5RS

    Free event, part of Digbeth First Friday

     

    Project Reading list:

    A Boy Is A Gun -Weaponising Black Gender in video games
    http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/a-boy-is-a-gun/
    The virtual census: representations of gender, race and age in video
    https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1461444809105354
    The History of Black Video Game Characters | NowThis Nerd
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-xEABBIk_8
    ‘Catch These Hands’: The Black Boxer Trope in Fighting Video Games
    https://level.medium.com/catch-these-hands-the-black-boxer-trope-in-fighting-video-games-3dd8362e549e
    Eddie “Skate” Hunter
    https://streetsofrage.fandom.com/wiki/Eddie_%22Skate%22_Hunter
    Treachery in Beatdown City
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treachery_in_Beatdown_City
    Writing for Games -Hannah Nicklin
    https://www.writingfor.games
  4. ways toward something

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    ways towards something are a collaborative group who are convening on a monthly basis from Jan to July 2024 with Vivid Lab to produce experimental sound that harnesses the spirit and aesthetic of DIY.

    They work with open-source software and low-cost tools and instruments to research what manifests when creative momentum is given time and space to evolve through noise and sound-making. The group are delivering lab sessions to provide a safe and open environment for experimentation with a focus on encouraging women, trans, non-binary and gender expansive people to engage with new sound making processes.

    ways towards something is led by  Emily Warner, Sam Owen & Laura Fox 

    The group is open to expressions of interest from women, trans, non-binary and gender expansive people and meets both in person and online.

    Email events@vividprojects.org.uk for more details.

  5. all fruits ripe Presents: Homeland

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    Join us for Homeland: a night of films curated by Candice Nembhard for all fruits ripe series. 

    Homeland brings together the work of directors exploring Germany’s regressive attitudes towards racism, class and ethnicity through the lens of queer relationships, migration, housing and grief. The works ask us to reconsider the liberal label of modern Germany by digging into its past and combing through the details.

     

    The evening will include discussions with select filmmakers and producers from the screened films.
    This edition of afr series is hosted by Vivid Projects and is part of LGBT+ History Month.

    £2 suggested donation: please book your ticket here

    FILMS

    Hundefreund
    (2022)

    Director – Maissa Lihedheb
    Screenwriter – Lamin Leroy Gibba

    Producer – Sailesh Naidu

    A casual hook-up takes an unexpected turn in this meditation on race, politics, and history.

    Polyglot (2015)

    Director/Screenwriter: Amelia Umuhire

    Polyglot is a scripted web series exploring the identities of young creatives of color in Berlin.

  6. Dr XYZ

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    Magnified open mouth with 70s pencil moustache, a doctors coat and stethescope are visible, with a background  of black and white grid lines.

    A still from the film

    Brought to you by XYZ Projects (CIC), Dr XYZ is a satirical take on the healthcare service announcements of the 1960s and 70s. The purpose of the project is to act as a training film for the current NHS England staff, equipping them to give trans and non-binary patients the level of gender-affirming care they need and deserve.

    XYZ Projects is a newly established trans+ film collective based in Birmingham, concerned with community healthcare archiving and collaborative filmmaking. El Jones (they/them) independent filmmaker/community archive facilitator, and Dr. Raviv Piccus (he/they) NHS doctor/researcher are co-directors of the collective. Working alongside them is Producer: Yasmyn Nettle (they/them), Collective Care Lead: Reuben Liebeskind (they/he), BTS Photographer: TQ Archive (they/them) and on music they have Transistrrr (she/her) and Lai Fransisco (they/she).

    The journey of Dr XYZ kicked off with a community call out, inviting trans and non-binary individuals to share first hand accounts of their experiences accessing gender-affirming healthcare in the UK. This progressed into a series of community script writing workshops prior to filming, shaping the narrative with input from the people who’s experiences the film will highlight. 

  7. Maxx Gentleman

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    Black and white imagoes an outstretched arm wearing a black leather glove.

    Maxx Gentlemen Presents:
    [sombre music fades out]

     

    Maxx Gentleman presents an uncomfortable exploration of Australiana convict heritage in a Queer Horror context within a kitchen disco environment set to a Donna Summer and Sonic Youth infused live soundrack.

    Maxx will incorporate elements of previous performances KITCHEN DISCO HOME INVASION and SOUNDTRACK to bring you [sombre music fades out], complete with sing’alongs, trauma-dotes and horoscopes that merge sculpture, painting, performance and video.

    This event launches their work with Vivid Projects that will take place as part of Vivid Lab programme through 2023 – 24.

    Maxx Gentleman is a Birmingham based non-binary drag DJ and stand-up performer. They occasionally do a very average and messy lip sync, but more often than not just throw themselves around the dance floor in a Five Rhythms dance haze.