Photographic Wall Mural, 15’ x 31’, 2018
Part of a larger body of work titled, Monument a Surface, which visualizes a constellation of research into acts of memorializing and monument-making in the divergent histories of South Florida. "The African Cemetery, Key West, FL" renders the entanglement and intersection of three affective sites together: The AIDS Memorial, The African Cemetery, and Pulse Nightclub, site of the June 12, 2016 mass shooting. This project specifically uses the history of vernacular photography to question gestures that are meant to honor experiences of loss and, in the process, questions the audiences for whom the gestures serve. Also pictured: Prepositional Phases on left, 30"x60", 21/30, monogrammed yellow towels.
A tanned bikini-clad woman walks across a newly raked beach, a surface more scrubbed up than Zen. With its blue sky, bluer water, palm trees, and pristine sand, Higgs Beach is the stuff of tourist posters, and through Monument a Surface, viewers encounter Dan Paz’s saturated color photograph at the scale of a large wall mural. Yet, what might advertise a dreamy tropical destination is instead offered up—as the photograph’s title indicates—for its historical imbrication as the site of the African Cemetery in Key West, Florida (2018), a burial site for slaves who died in transport and after their arrival to the Key in the late spring of 1860. A trio of slave ships intercepted on their way to Cuba—the Wildfire, the William, and the Bogotá—brought close to 1,500 West and Central Africans to the region. Those who did not survive transport or died after arrival were buried below the sands at Higgs Beach and largely forgotten until work spearheaded by local researchers in the 1990s revived the story. An official memorial is now located near this site.
 The United States officially banned the maritime slave trade—in concert with Great Britain, France, Portugal, and Spain—in 1820.  Key West historian Gail Swanson initiated identification and recognition of the Slave Cemetery in 1990. In the early 2000s, under the auspices of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, local archaeologists led by Corey Malcolm (with whom Paz talked at length) worked to pinpoint the exact location of the burials. “Story of Discovery,” African Cemetery at Higgs Beach (2013). https://www.africanburialgroundathiggsbeach.org/discovery
Excerpt from In Silence Back, exhibition essay by Dr. Leslie Wilson
Mono-print Wall Hanging / Palms Indigenous to South Florida, 14’ H x 6’ W, 2018
An installation comprised of various screen-prints and mono-prints of Palm fronds indigenous to South Florida. The images are meant to function as both symbols of a region as well as markings of pleasure. When installed a fan blows the paper, mimicking a fanning gesture. The prints cite a larger project exploring the complications of memorializing and monument-making among divergent histories and practices surrounding gay beaches in Key West, Fl. These beaches now serve as tourist destinations and fraught sites of remembrance. Palms uses the act of accumulating objects to index and reflect upon the selective ways that spheres of trauma, pleasure, and tourism are consumed in that region.
HD, Video Installation, TRT 8min, 2018
In a quasi-stereoscopic video installation, Towards the Mangroves is a meditation on the multiple histories that are entangled in notions of future and past. The single-channel video runs in opposite directions simultaneously to activate a third space of three-dimensional viewing. Through the language and history of viewing 3D photographs, Towards the Mangroves thinks through the historical enslavement and continuing aggregations of forced migration that have constructed South Florida.
White oak, coral automotive paint, 6’ H, 24” W, 22” D, 2018
Part of a larger body of work that brings together a constellation of research centering acts of memorializing among divergent histories of South Florida, Lectern at the Former White Pier, mimics the original lectern that honors a local philanthropist/developer in Key West. The work considers the tourist economy that emerges from the AIDS crisis in the ‘80s and 90’s, who becomes memorialized, and the incommensurability of loss to the region.
Video installation, TRT 39:15, 2010-16
From roughly 1915 to 1930, Kodak engaged in a wide range of color processes that would later become their branded Kodachrome three- color process. These first color film tests set the standards for how we understand the interactions between lightness, darkness, shadow, and brightness—standards that continue to influence contemporary image-making practices. In the Untitled, Kodak, HD I read my archival research in the Kodak Eastman archives against my own footage of modern bodies to query the role digital video technologies might have in reorganizing the power dynamics between the camera, the operator, and the subject.
This project has transitioned to support the realization of The New Neutral, which seeks to develop new digital sensor technology capable of registering a wider range of skin tonalities.
HD Video, TRT 15:53, 2012
This long-form, documentary-style music video revisits the gaps in the queer archive of drag performer, Divine Ms M, who frequently performed in the Continental Bathhouse in New York City. The piece was shot within a functioning bathhouse in Chicago, IL with fifteen performers whose actions were designed to incorporate both choreographed dance as well as improvisations of site-specific, ritualized, habitual actions. This video considers the notion of desire, expectation and disappointment in historically gendered, American spaces.
Exhibition & Symposium, 2008-2016
2012 Exhibitions in Chicago, IL
2015 Exhibitions & Symposium in Havana, Cuba (12th Havana Biennial)
I co-curated ARTE NO ES FÁCIL and later Art Present, which facilitated transnational collaborations between 45 Cuban and American artists and ultimately including over eighty cultural workers from across the globe.
These collaborations have resulted in multiple exhibitions between Chicago and Havana. The first collaborations were featured in a three-month exhibition series at Chicago's Links Hall (2011-12). Following this, and with support from the MacArthur Foundation's Artist Connections Fund, 11 of the 25 Cuban artists were brought for a three-month residency in Chicago to meet their USAmerican collaborators in person.
We were invited to participate the 12th Havana Biennial in Cuba in June of 2015. We organized the symposium "Art Present: Mapping Space that Could Return to Earth Again" and exhibition series. Over eighty cultural workers participated from the US, Canada, Amsterdam, Spain, and Qatar. Co-hosted by Fábrica de Arte Cubano and Sometimes Art Space in Havana, the event showcased interdisciplinary art research, innovative space design, community-oriented artist-run projects, and site-specific curatorial concepts alongside institutionally sponsored architectural initiatives to examine how the restructuring of art space might extend into the political, technological, and bureaucratic reorganization of other spaces in Cuba, The United States, and Canada.
We are currently in production to publish a two-volume catalog publication observing seven years of US-Cuban relations through the eyes of ARTE NO ES FÁCIL's transnational participants. This project was generously supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Connection Fund, Wyckoff Milliman Endowment Grant at The University of Washington, LinksHall Artists LinkUp Grant, The Claire Kantor Foundation, The Hyde Park Art Center, Art Chicago & Next, El Centro Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, The University of Chicago, UChicago Arts Council, Department of Visual Arts, Open Practice Committee, The Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts, and The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Chicago.
Video, TRT 4:41, 2015
The re-performance of a text conversation on the history and contemporary, racial complexities in using the phrase “butch realness.” In the exhibition, viewers texted whosayswords to 41411 and then were directed to a website to view the work on their cellular devices.
SD & HD video, Screening TRT: 11:58, 2016
Named after a collection of Frank O’Hara poems, Lunch Poems is an on-going compilation of assembled images and sound that are meant to dig just below the surface of our social and cultural signifiers that serve as the basis for easy pleasure to illustrate the multiple histories that surround us, surround me, daily. In record making we get to play with, perform in, recall, and use video to function as a necessary burden of proof. We persist in expecting this medium to be all things—and sometimes it is. However, its application in disparate settings can confuse and can perhaps point us in different directions. I use high and low cultural moments with layers of meaning embedded inside them, always near us, for better, for worse.
HD Video, TRT: 1:21, 2013
Flying emerged from a Groupon purchase of flight lessons, "Learn how to simulate flying," and captures the experience of digital flight simulation—a rumination on what it means to purchase an educational experience that is completely separate from certain realities of being. This piece is part of a larger series that explores empirical evidence versus simulation.
HD VIDEO, TRT 2:32, 2015
Blalock, an African American student in Florida's segregated Lee County school district, was the key litigant in the judicial fight to desegregate in 1969. Florida was one of the last states to desegregate, and I felt the lasting effects of anti-desegregation sentiments in the 1980s when I was in junior high school. This piece pairs the visual ideals of paradise with the soundscape of a 1969 radio broadcast reflecting upon the musical hits of the year as a way to interrogate the relationships between official and personal histories of (de)segregation.
Aired on AcreTV as a “Public Service Announcement”
Digital Archival Inket Prints, 7.25” x 60” (x2) / 9.50” x 60” (x3), 2016
In the history of criminology, evidentiary photography developed alongside eugenics to identify people according to their component parts. Conflating this history with popular advertisements featuring women in 1973, when Roe V. Wade was decided, Salem’s Mute Testimony is a rumination on the problematic scrutiny portraiture provides the so-called criminalized body.
Plywood, Digital Photograph (40" x 70"), Parabolic audio dome, Audio piece (TRT 2:32), 2013-15
A two-part, audio piece and sculptural video still that documents the Civil War re-enactment meant to honor the experiences of Black soldiers. In the audio, the firing of the cannon is juxtaposed against a performance of war to question the function of reenactment as a process of contemporary restorative, racial justice that simultaneously intends to intervene on the historical archive of the Civil War.
Embossed, Handmade Paper, 20"x 30", 2017
A series of embossings, BONAFIDE ME takes up the Supreme Court decision on June 26th, 2017 temporarily barring entry of foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries that are allegedly unable to make a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” In particular, BONA FIDE ME questions the immigration order that overturns Obama policies and refuses amnesty to LGBTQ populations seeking amnesty from countries of origin where they face persecution. BONA FIDE ME cites the use of ambiguous phrases such as ‘bona fide’, whose meanings can be changed at will. The three prints state their protest through the formal language of embossing, a form frequently employed in official government papers such as marriage licenses and travel documents.
Photographic Mural, Ceramic Tile Floor piece, 9’ x 9’, 2018
Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions uses the act of accumulating, casting, and spray-painting mundane objects to index and reflect upon the selective ways that spheres of trauma co-exist—and are consumed in and by the tourist industry—in South Florida. Devotions is titled after a work of prose by John Donne that explores death, rebirth, and the Elizabethan concept of sickness as a visit from God (reflecting internal sinfulness).
Digital, Archival C-Print, 44”x 69”, 2010
This collaboration between three artists works through the steps of (re)making the image of Bo Derek from the ﬁlm 10. Focusing on the repetition of gestures symbolizing the Venus coming out of the water, the video forefronts the processes of racialization and sexualization of "Bo's" body.
Web-based archive, 2012- present
An ongoing portraiture project that documents the community I have worked with at one of Chicago's City Colleges. Many of those students don't feel a strong sense of community or home within the largerly commuter campus—indeed a good number of them have struggled with insecure housing. In a community-building effort, the digital archive is meant to underscore empathic practices of portraiture in the hopes that diverse students will feel visible within public institutions.
Digital Inkjet Prints , 16"x24", 2015
A commissioned portrait series of the organizer-DJs of Chances Dances commemorating their 10 years of creating queer safe(r) spaces in Chicago. Chances Dances eventually expanded to hosts three funding cycles per year to provide support to local artists and activists impacting the Chicago LGBTQ community. Curated by Gallery 400 director Lorelei Stewart and artist/curator/educator John Neff. Exhibition details.
Video Installation, 2009
The installation is composed of three video pieces that run concurrently across the length of the gallery. Visually separated by partial barriers, the sound and light of each video spill over to the next, allowing the work to operate individually and in concert. The Camera Obscura, was the first piece the viewer encountered when entering the space. The second, I played my best, refers to physical states of becoming. And finally, 20paces, where two women participants engage in a duel.
Plaster, Resin, 2014
A mold-making, sculptural series that considers the tools used in the support of image-production, and the ability for a different material to engage in a conversation about fidelity.
Digital Archival Print, 40”x 60”, 2015
Untitled, Civil War is a series of portraits of that look at Civil War re-enactors and their participation in the re-performance of the past. The series is part of a larger body of work documenting a Civil War re-enactment hosted by Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History in 2013. The re-enactment was meant to honor the experiences of an all black regiment from Quincy, Ill and serve as a process of contemporary restorative, racial justice that intends to intervene on the historical archive of the Civil War.
Performance, Live Telecast, 24hours, 2012
The 24-hour broadcast of Goodbye, Farewell reenacts scenes from the final episode of M*A*S*H, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” (1983), as a platform for addressing the racial and gendered gaps existing between the physical spaces of “real” versus televised time. In one space, the artists read scenes from the episode, commonly regarded as the most watched TV episode in United States history, inviting participants to join in as they pass through. In a separate space, a live video feed of the reading is installed on the gallery wall, projecting the formalization and routinization of closure.
HD Video Simulcast, TRT 5 min, 2014
B-roll is a selection from a larger body of work, Untitled, Kodak, HD, where I film contemporary queers and queers of color as they work through poses and gestures that, to them, articulate the ideals of their own identity expressions. B-roll transports this work into the space of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art for their First Friday event, and documents the interactions between me and attendees as I ask them to dance in increasingly slower motion. From the vantage point of the camera's preview thumbnail screen, this video reveals the tools of production to frame the tense, vulnerable, and productive spaces where trust is built on-screen.
Performative Lecture Series, 2010
Drawing on the idea of a"business development" lecture series, I arranged a lecture based on a set of found, pre‑ordered slides and accompanying literature originally titled "Devices for Illusory Space" found in the Columbia College Art & Design Resource Center. I invited William Knepp, Director of Business Development at Cutters, a post‑production house for television and film, to re‑interpret and "sell" the media for an art audience in the effort to re‑think how we find, receive, own and transmit knowledge.
Video Still, Seamless Backdrop, 13’x9’, 2009
For one year I accumulated footage of queer couples kissing in the effort to capture what a passionate kiss looks like in my community. The series centers the ritualization of documentation as an exploration of intimacy depicted in images.
Audio Piece, (TRT Variable), 2012
In August of 2012, I was in residence at Harold Arts in Chesterhill, OH. During my stay, I asked artists to take a walk with me to a special location on the grounds to talk about the future. I wanted to have a one-on-one conversation with them about whatever they thought of in reference to the future. The participating artist typically set the tone and context of the idea of "the future." Each conversation was recorded.
I set a date in the future to listen to the recordings. I am in the process of listening to them now.
Some conversations have been published in Shifter Magazine, Edited by Matthew Metzger and Sreshta Rit Premnath. The issues launched at PS1 in NYC, MOMA, and SFMOMA in Sept 2012. Shifter #19 was generously funded by the Graham Foundation.
Digital, Archival C-Print, Stainless Steel Nails, 44” x 70”, 2015
Unframed and nailed to the wall, After Inferred functions as a sculptural photograph. Poetically, this negotiation of public and private sensitivities is made possible by an almost aggressively anti-aesthetic container, echoing a philosophical argument as the inverse of art
Slideshow Installation, Archival Radio Footage, 2012
fiction outside is a series of found stills documenting one family's suburban migration and assimilation in the 1970s. The images are curated here to mirror the artist’s grandfather’s original, disorienting sequence. Drawing on the montage format's ability to both create and challenge continuity, architectural images of Florida are set against images of Long Island interiors to offer a view of how linearity is narrativized and altered in family histories.
HD Video, TRT 1:52, 2013
Part of a larger series exploring the experience of “simulating,” Hurricane documents the process of encountering, purchasing, and weathering a "Hurricane Simulator" found in a rural Midwestern mall.