The visual component of the video ‘Safe Space’ is pieced together from numerous YouTube clips of ballroom events from the early nineties—at a time the AIDS epidemic was surging in New York City. Originally a community created by trans and queer people of color in response to a society that marginalized their presence, the ballroom scene provides a safe space for performers to act out various ways of gender expressions. For decades, the ballroom community has influenced pop culture, and it’s vocabulary has seeped into common parlance. ‘Safe Space’ is narrated by AI generated voices reciting a number of experiences and statements of LGBTQ+ refugees that have been sourced from the internet. The confluence of image and sound seek to depict both the harsh plight of a minority within a minority and the creative resilience and sense of community that emerges from these experiences. The ballroom community provides a strong support network built upon kinship and solidarity. It represents the concept of a chosen family, as many were rejected by their biological families for their sexual orientation or gender identity. At a time when the rights of queer people of color are increasingly at risk, the history and legacy of ballroom culture is more important than ever.
Mirelle Borra (NL)
Mirelle Borra’s interest in urgent global subjects merges with her keen sense of aesthetic to create thought-provoking work. Using moving image, she engages with social and political topics to re-frame these matters in new ways. Mirelle seeks to examine structures of representation through a transnational perspective while staying in constant dialog with the context from which the work is derived. The main focus of her practice is where the personal and the political intersect. In 2017, she founded the online platform 6×6 project which is dedicated to the dissemination of artists’ moving image works, and to create an ever-growing network among peers: https://6x6project.com. Her work has shown internationally in art festivals and exhibitions, including the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (DE), 3rd FRACTO Experimental Film Encounter, Berlin (DE), 39th Ars Electronica Festival, Linz (AT), 3rd Screen City Biennial, Stavanger (NO), 8th FUSO Annual International Video Art Festival, Lisbon (PT), and the 7th Berlin Biennial, KW Institute for Contemporary Art (DE) among others. Mirelle Borra was born in the Netherlands, and after living in New York City for many years, she is currently based in Berlin.