I create collaborative models in order to produce videos and performances that enact and disrupt political, aesthetic and social mythologies. My practice includes video, performance, installation and drawing, all of which spring from a critical interest in story-telling. I use writing to conceptualize projects, employing narrative scripts to explore representation.In my work, I write, shoot, edit, design, costume, dance, sing, and act – embodying queer theatricality that seeks to transform everyday experience.
– Alexandro Segade
1. Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse (2013) Exhibition, performance and video project by My Barbarian (Alexandro Segade, Jade Gordon and Malik Gaines) exploring “motherhood” as a political and aesthetic category. The show has been exhibited at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Gallery 400, Chicago; and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, LA. The video and exhibition have been written about in a number of publications, including Art in America, Texte zur Kunst, and Artforum.
While the video is shown in a screening room, a multimedia installation can be activated by a performance of an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Communist propaganda play, The Mother.
Video of the live performance of The Mother and Other Plays, with a script adapted from Brecht by Alexandro Segade, reviewed by Art in America.
2. Counterpublicity (2014) A video by My Barbarian adapted from an essay by José Esteban Muñoz about Pedro Zamora, star of MTV’s Real World: San Francisco, and AIDS activist. This video premiered at Los Angeles Outfest 2014 in a program devoted to the late Muñoz, and is included in Alternate Endings, a new series of films screening for the 25th anniversary of Day With(out) Art by organized by Visual AIDS. The video is based on a performance of the same name that premiered at a program I co-organized for the Whitney Biennial 2014, Take Ecstasy With Me, a night of performances inspired by the writings of José Muñoz. And has been written about by Tavia N’Yongo in the journal Social Text published by Duke University Press.
13. Broke People’s Baroque People’s Theater (2010 – Present) This project includes videos, performances and exhibitions that explore camp, spectacle and allegory as means of representing economic inequity and the politics and aesthetics of excess. While it has taken many forms, including participatory events, theater performances, and exhibitions, several of the videos that comprise this ongoing project have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Sand Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Art Basel Miami Beach. The exhibition at Human Resources LA was reviewed by the LA Weekly and LA Times. Recently, we have been collaborating with opera singers on Broke Baroque performances at Art Basel Miami Beach, Paula Cooper Gallery, and as part of Rachel Feinstein’s Last Days of Folly at Madison Square Park, New York.
4. Courtesy the Artists This project is a collaboration with Malik Gaines in which we choose historical texts to use as scores for performances by artists invited to participate in live events and videos. The first project was a responses to Black Panther Party member Elaine Brown’s 1968 album of agit prop songs: The Meeting, which included contributions by Adam Pendleton, Xaviera Simmons, Charles Gaines, and Geo Wyeth, premiered at MoMA PS1. Subsequent projects include 24 Hr Ballad, a twenty-four hour long performance, included in Performa 13 performance art Biennial, and the video made from that performance, which was included in “When the Stars Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South,” Studio Museum in Harlem. Courtesy the Artists also produced Songs of the Civil War, a live performance, in conjunction with that show, reviewed by Art F City. The latest work, The Shoot, was video shot on site commissioned by the Kitchen, NYC, for the 2014 exhibition, “the Rehearsal,” which explored legacies of student demonstration and state violence.
5. The Night Epi$ode This exhibition of video work by My Barbarian premiered at Participant Inc., New York, and was our first solo museum show at the Hammer Museum, LA, in 2010. Inspired by the 1970s TV series The Night Gallery, the videos in this series explore the horror genre as means of articulating anxieties brought on by the economic collapse of 2009. The exhibition was reviewed in Art in America, and was accompanied by a performance titled Death Panel Discussion, in which three “nightmare curators” determine which most deserve to die in a public forum, a review of which can be found here.
6. Rep VS Sep (2010-present) Based on my own science-fiction writings, these multi-media performances with video explore gender, sexuality, law, the body, mediation and ideas of “the future.” Replicant VS Separatist, the first in the series, has been performed at venues including the REDCAT Now Festival, LAXART, and Yerba Buena Center. The Holo Library was performed at UC Riverside and Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, while The Other Boys and Other Stories premiered at Pieter Performance Art Space in LA, and was included in the exhibition “Double Consciousness” at Vox Populi, Philadelphia. Boy Band Audition has been performed at Judson Church, NY; Human Resources, LA., and the Time-Based Art Festival in 2013, reviewed here.
7. Post-Living Ante-Action Theater (2008-Present) This is a participatory pedagogical project based on liberatory experimental theater I have been developing alongside Jade Gordon and Malik Gaines since 2008, when it premiered at the New Museum, NY in international contexts as well as institutional spaces in the US. Central to the PoLAAT is a performance lab in which participants are trained in the tactics and techniques of the Post-Living Ante-Action Theater. Classes are comprised of exercises designed to educate the participants in the five principles: 1) Estrangement, 2) Indistinction, 3) Suspension of Beliefs, 4) Mandate to Participate and 5) Inspirational Critique. Songs based on these principles are taught to the group.
8. Forest Brothers & Sisters A collaboration between My Barbarian and Liudni Slibinai that explored ethnic identity and political history, Forest Brothers and Sisters was a performance and video installation which took place in part in a KGB Prison Cell, a Lithuanian Forest, and the basement of the Baltic Triennial, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania 2009.
9. Ecos de los Ecos de los Ecos My Barbarian residency at Museo Experimental, El Eco, 2010. Our project reflects upon these precepts to realize Goeritz’s stated intention that El Eco would be “a meeting point to experience artistic creation freely and convivially. It would be an open and transformable space: experimental museum, art gallery, theater, dance space…which, under it’s roof, would integrate art, artists, visitors, and work. It would be a museum, a living museum.” Our collective effort’s aim is to echo Goeritz’s “emotional architecture” while exploring the history, and various uses and legacies, of the site since its inauguration September 7, 1953.
10. Pagan Rights (2006) A music video projects by My Barbarian, commissioned by the Orange County Museum of Art for the 2006 California Biennial. I co-directed, edited, designed and performed in this musical exploration of the legacy of experiments in California collective living.