Reina Gossett, Atlantic is a Sea of Bones, 2017
Commissioned by Visual AIDS for Day With(out) Art 2017, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett
Atlantic is a Sea of Bones is a short film drawing from the Lucille Clifton poem of the same name that follows Egyptt LaBejia, an NYC based performer through the 80s, 90s, and 2000's in NYC. The haunting and otherwordly film set to an original score by Geo Wythe features small every day acts of refusal, resistance, and existence—such as performance and self expression—that have a tremendous impact on the world. The film reveals how the historical and systemic violence, like the killing and policing of black queer and trans life, continue to haunt our contemporary landscapes and is inextricably linked to the ongoing AIDS epidemic and the black queer/trans spaces shaped so intimately by HIV/AIDS, including the spaces where we come together and make life together: public spaces and nightlife spaces.
Reina Gossett is an artist and the 2017 Activist In Residence at Barnard College Center for Research on Women (BCRW). While at BCRW, she recently directed The Personal Things, an animated short starring iconic trans activist Miss Major and the everyday ways people fight back. Gossett often makes her art through collaboration. Along with Sasha Wortzel, Gossett directed Happy Birthday, Marsha! about legendary performer and activist Marsha P. Johnson. Gossett is an editor of the anthology TRAP DOOR about trans art and cultural production, to be published by the New Museum and MIT Press in October 2017. A longtime community organizer, Gossett worked as the membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Critical Resistance, Queers for Economic Justice, where she directed the Welfare Organizing Project and produced A Fabulous Attitude, documenting low income LBGT New Yorkers. Gossett moderated Visual AIDS’ 2015 event AGING FIERCELY WHILE TRANS and was a featured artist in Visual AIDS’ Playsmart safer sex kit project, exhibited and distributed in The Brooklyn Museum exhibition Agitprop. Gossett lives and works in New York City, NY.
December 1, 2017 marked the 28th anniversary of Day With(out) Art, a day of mourning and action in response to the AIDS crisis. A presentation of short film and video works held concurrently at over one hundred art institutions and universities, Day With(out) Art is organized annually by Visual AIDS, the only contemporary arts organization fully committed to raising AIDS awareness and creating dialogue around HIV issues today. This year's program, ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS, prioritizes Black narratives within the ongoing AIDS epidemic and features seven new and innovative short videos from artists Mykki Blanco, Cheryl Dunye & Ellen Spiro, Reina Gossett, Thomas Allen Harris, Kia LaBeija, Tiona Nekkia McClodden and Brontez Purnell, curated by Erin Christovale and Vivian Crockett for Visual AIDS. In 2017 ALTERNATE ENDINGS, RADICAL BEGINNINGS screened at 116 venues worldwide, premiering at the Whitney Museum of American Art on December 1, with additional marquee screenings at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem, as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.