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We Interrupt This Program

September 20, 2019 - February 7, 2020
Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center
Buffalo, NY 
all photos by Kaitlyn Lowe
fashion show reel by Charlie Best 
makeup by Aryanah Rivera 
fashion show music by DJ NOSIM

     Installed in Squeaky Wheel's window gallery, this new work by Charlie Best is described by the artist as "an invitation for confusion and joy, full of noise, for trans people." The mixed-media installation features distorted children's programming, televisions, sound, cardboard boxes and walls painted in black and white patterns, and a fashion show on opening night as a strategy of what Nicole Archer calls "pattern jamming."

        Trans* subjectivity is currently gaining remarkably increased attention within American popular culture, and a set of unmistakably clear patterns is being formally developed to mediate the terms through which trans* experiences, aesthetics, desires, bodies, and politics might pass into"proper view". The dissonant and queer strategy of "pattern jamming" presents both a serious mode of political resistance and a strategic plan for everyday survival during this key historical moment.

     This strategy is embodied in the various elements that make up We Interrupt This Program. The children's programming featured in Best's videos are heavily distorted, with digital glitches on analog sources, which hint at traversals through time, memory, and experience. Familiar figures from Sesame Street and Pee Wee's Playhouse are interspersed with sloping animations that look like faded pastel archways, coming together to create a cacophony of visions and symbolism that is private but has shared codes for those who know. This resistance to mass mediation extends to Best's textile work: The fashion show on opening night features garments that are singular, and could never be mass-produced by the industrial and exploitative textile industry. Together, We Interrupt this Program, exudes an overwhelming, fierce love, and is liberatory in how it refuses heteronormative sight and knowledge. 

 - Ekrem Serdar, curator, Squeaky Wheel, September 2019


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