In many ways, Arabella’s story… is very similar to mine, but there are differences that I’ve intentionally kept so there’s always a distinction between myself and Arabella. But yes, I was writing all night in the production office that I was making a TV show for, and went on a break to meet my friend in a bar. And I had a drink, [I blacked out], and then I was back at work typing and finishing the [ChewingGum] episode that was due and didn’t quite realize my phone was smashed… — Michaela Coel
THE TOTAL VOMITORIUM—an exhibition by Felix Bernstein and Gabe Rubin featuring the durational 4-channel video Vomitorium 720°—is now on view in Luma Westbau’s Schwarzescafé.
(An earlier iteration of Vomitorium—closed at the start of the pandemic—was at Queenslab, The Kitchen’s partner venue in Ridgewood, New York.)
Organized by Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen, the show is a “tragicomic reenactment of the history of meta-theater from religious ritual to live-streaming, Zoom, and Twitch. The artists transition between multiple genres, genders, ages, tropes, eras, and personae, with Bernstein playing Onkos, the Greek mask of tragedy, and Rubin playing multiple versions of Eros. They play-through arcane and new modes of performance documentation from Classical diagrams to Victorian photo journals, as well as the parallel domestication of Eros into Cupid.”*
The vomitorium is traced from its origin as a passageway in amphitheaters to the current socially reflexive architecture built for Instagram selfie-stories—comparing the way audiences watch each other watching each other binging and purging media. The impossible wish for a 360-degree perspective is shown to mark both panoptic social media and counter-surveillance tactics; normative and queer gazes. Played on four unconnected screens, Vomitorium is inlaid by Baroque frames—juxtaposing maximalist convolution with the fashionable metaphysics of presence and transparency. Virtually real versions of Vomitorium will be simultaneously made available on the new media app Ortvi.*
As we go about our daily lives, caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater, flashlight cast down in the aisles, guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance. The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality. It is about power—which groups have it and which do not. — Isabel Wilkerson, Caste*
Isabel Wilkerson—author of The Warmth of Other Suns—will join children’s author JacquelineWoodson for an online discussion of Wilkerson’s new historical study CASTE: THE ORIGINS OF OUR DISCONTENTS, which “examines how America has been shaped by an unspoken caste system and the impacts of this rigid hierarchy of human divisions on our lives today. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, she explores eight pillars that underlie these systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more.”*
The conversation is presented by the California African American Museum, and a signed copy of CASTE is available to order. See links below for details.
This week, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation present OUT IN PUBLIC, a program of short films highlighting “different historical moments and ways of being out and queer in public, from a Gay-In at Griffith Park to a Memorial Day barbecue at a campsite in southern Illinois. Each shines with the energy of summer revelry while conveying the importance of claiming a public space for LGBTQ identity as the literal and metaphoric grounds on which to build a community and a movement.”*
The films include The Liberation of Griffith Park, or A Gay Time Was Had By All(1971, directed by Matt Spero), S.P.R.E.E. on a Spree(1970, Pat Rocco), and Tales of the Pit(1997, directed by Anne Chamberlain, who will appear in a pre-recoded post-screening Q & A).
OUT IN PUBLICwill begin with a live introduction from UCLA Film & Television Archive programmer Paul Malcolm and Outfest UCLA Legacy Project manager BrendanLucas.