From Here, You'll Never Leave

From Here, You'll Never Leave is the culmination of a collaborative project and collection of works that explore the boundaries of drag performance and the narratives embedded in popular music through a queered perspective. The history of drag is nested within the realm of nightlife; besides mainstream representations, drag is inherently connected to queer havens: bars, clubs, festivals. The sphere of entertainment has always been at the epicenter of queer performance.

Drag is also a vehicle for shared experiences of catharses and storytelling; by nature it possesses a level of generosity and empathy while simultaneously disrupting heteronormative perspectives of the everyday. This project aims to shift the audience's frame of reference. A short film is at the core of this project. It isolates the performer, Celeste, within the context of the studio as she tells a story broken up into four chapters. The themes of the story being told include testing of empathy's limits, unconditional love, obsession/fixation and narcissism. 

We witness the intimacy experienced between the camera and the performer as well as a level of transparency in regards to the work that goes into creating a fantasy world behind a narrative of a song. One may catch glimpses of the camera and production crew in the background, the reflections of reality in the mirror, or the simplicity of the space of the performance. The film plucks at the tension between illusion and reality. 

The other works in the exhibition serve to reinforce the world created in the film while lighting elements used in the space reference the world of the stage. Tomm's photographs, hung as objects in the space, immortalize detailed moments of the film and reference bondage while Celeste's "armor" sits glowing, from and center. 

Film and editing by Sancia Shiba, images shot by Tomm Roeschlein, Lighting (on & off camera) and mirrors installation by Roman Horst. Image sculptures by Tomb Roeschlein and Ále Campos. Concept, direction and performance + mask by Ále Campos