An uncomfortable relationship with holly Revell

Our long time collaborator and documenter Holly Revell was due to join us for a gig tonight at the Barbican. Failing that she's done us a blog about what would of happened...

‘An Uncomfortable Relationship with Masculinity’ - Event Cancelled.

Tonight, artist photographer Holly Revell and participants from their project ‘People Like Us’ were to join Scottee and Friends for a night of performance with other queers, femmes and drags who have an uncomfortable relationship with men, maleness and masculinity. The event An Uncomfortable Relationship with Masculinity, was planned to happen within the ‘Masculinities’ photography exhibition at the Barbican with artists responding to the works on display. 


Revell and co were to be positioned next to Catherine Opie’s series ‘Being and Having’ from 1991 and had planned a live photo-shoot. Together participants would have been TAKING UP SPACE, BEING SEEN and INFILTRATING an exhibition which lacks the presence of ‘People Like Us’. 


‘People Like Us’ is an ongoing participatory photography project exploring AFAB (assigned female at birth) trans and non-binary identities and experience; masculinity, gender-dysphoria, gender-euphoria and the magic of gender non-conforming bodies, visibility, rituals and individual complexities.



The conversation between Opie’s images and Revell’s is interesting. “The 13 photographs that make up ‘Being and Having’ consist of close-up portraits of Opie’s friends from the alternative club scene at the time, sporting fake facial hair and other stereotypical masculine accessories. Carefully posed against a yellow backdrop, the subjects gaze directly at the camera while they playfully borrow these masculine signifiers and mimic ‘manliness’” (Barbican). In the making 18 years later with friends from London’s queer performance community and beyond, ‘People Like Us’ uses a similar gaze taking an unapologetic stance, but rather than borrowing masculine signifiers to mimic ‘manliness’, the participants take aspects of so-called masculinity for themselves and transcend ‘manliness’, rather than mimic it they own it and redefine it, continuing the conversation that Opie and others set out. 


Due to the inevitable closure of the Barbican, Revell and co have decided to use this date to share some of the work they have made so far. Tonight there will be a multi-drop of images being released from the project on Instagram and other platforms so keep an eye out for those and follow Holly and the participants from People like Us: @hollyrevellphotography, @brumble_hag, @georgeousmichael, @azaram, @trainwithbecca, @stampchiron, @prinxchiyo, @laurabridgeman, @felixislucky, @jen_smethurst, @krishnaistha, @mxleomilk, @lucy.hutson, @sabah.c, @kayisagay

Catch Holly's work here


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