To strike a pose is to pose a threat —as culture theorist Dick Hebdige wrote regarding the meaning of style in subculture. That’s why we need to trace the history of dissident gestures and the genealogy of those poses that are bold enough to confront the norm and open up space to imagine other futurities for the body. The stylized poses from a “voguing” performance belong to that kind of gesture. For those who dare to witness it, the hands of a vogue dancer tell a story whose implications and possibilities that extend far beyond the individual into a terrain of collective struggles and minority resistance.
For this talk at Grand Union, the curator Sabel Gavaldon will share his ongoing research on gesture and subcultural style. The latest iteration of this research is Elements of Vogue, a forthcoming exhibition co-curated with Manuel Segade at CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, in Madrid, which looks at the emergence of voguing as a case study in radical performance. The exhibition departs from an understanding of the body as a living political archive, in order to map out the different legacies and embodied histories that intersect in the drag ball culture that emerged decades ago from Harlem, New York. Therefore, this will not be a talk “about” voguing, but one that unfolds in multiple directions, by considering ways in which minorities use their bodies to produce dissenting forms of beauty, subjectivity, and desire.
This event is part of VOZ RARA curated by Grand Union Curators-in-Residence Anna Santomauro and Valerio Del Baglivo.