Season of Shadows

Season of Shadows is an ongoing social project. Beginning in 2017, Borealis interviewed trans and queer peers about gender and intersecting experiences, working through conversation to conjure metaphors for those parts of ourselves that can feel difficult to explain otherwise. Subsequent community collaborations have further translated, contradicted, or reiterated interview themes through performances, installations, parties, exhibitions, and writing. Find project interview excerpts in this zine.

Shadows are elusive and they’re real. Shadows take up volume, but their forms can shift or even disappear under close inspection. Shadows aren’t for sale but these shadows cost money—  Support this work on Patreon!

Unpredictable Forms
UNPREDICTABLE FORMS, Oct 20, 2017 at The Basement Show hosted by ArtFly in Eau Claire, WI. Photo courtesy of Cinda Lillibridge.

A few of the happenings:

Oct 13, 14, and 26, 2017: Community costume-making sessions hosted at Monroe Street Arts Center, Arts + Literature Laboratory, and Everyday Gay Holiday respectively. Participants were invited to make statement pieces for themselves or to share. “Queer costuming is the best thing to happen to 2017,” said one guest.

Oct 20, 2017: UNPREDICTABLE FORMS (Season of Shadows) at a contemporary art pop-up exhibition, The Basement Show, curated by ArtFly Gallery in Eau Claire, WI. I invited guests to sew onto my growing garment over the four hour performance while hairy projections were cast on the scene. Some guests explored gender alongside me while others stitched their ideas onto me in more uncomfortable ways. Curatorial efforts by Kelsey Wenberg and photography by Cinda Lillibridge.

Oct 27, 2017: Queer Shadows at Queer Pressure’s Halloween Party at North Street Cabaret in Madison, WI, with coordination and graphics by Sarah Akawa, photography by Duke Virginia and Aida Ebrahimi, and performance by numerous guests. We set up a small “dressing area” with costumes available for guests to get ready for the party. We invited guests to have their portraits taken in front of spooky projections.

Nov 9 and 10, 2017: Season of Shadows (In Real Life) at Chocolaterian Cafe’s window displays in Madison’s east side, presented by the Madison Arts Commission BLINK program for temporary art. Performances by Borealis, Misa Rodriguez, Owen, Sawyer Johnson, Oliver Gruebel, Ande Johnson, and Sylvia Johnson. We sat in the window display and replicated the process of interviewing that has otherwise happened in private for the Shadows project. While we talked, a computer sloppily mistranslated our speech to text, sometimes missing whole segments. This text was projected onto us and could be read, in part, from the street. Some guests huddled behind the back of the screen in an attempt to listen in to our conversations. Photography by Jennifer Bastian and Duke Virginia.

Nov 27 – Dec 2, 2017 / closing reception Dec 2 6-9pm: FORESHADOW installation at Everyday Gay Holiday (2088 Atwood Ave) in the front window display. They’ve wondered what we can divine and what we can do about it, what grows under pressure and how a body copes with waiting. Readings by TK Morton, coordination support from Kim Charles Kay, imagery provided by Borealis, Corvus, and others.

Dec 2017 – Jan 2018 / opening reception Dec 7 5-9pm: Embodying the Shadow exhibition at Black Locust Cafe. Borealis shared creative research concerning embodiment, queerness, chronic pain, and happiness. Through visual experiments and mixed media, we asked: How do gender and disability talk to each other? Curatorial efforts by Sarah Akawa / Queer Pressure.

March 13 – June 3, 2018 // reception May 4, 2018 6-8pm (third floor gallery) // open studio May 12, 2018 12-4pm (Wisconsin Room): Season of Shadows at Overture Center for the Arts. Excerpts from interview transcripts, photography from project installations and performances, and other artifacts from the social project were displayed in a traditional exhibition format.