Luna Park Experimental Film Series: REVOLT/RESTRAINT: How We Refrain

Mar 23 - 24


Check back for showtimes.

Fri, Mar 23 to Sat, Mar 24

Drawing inspiration from Pittsburgh’s famed amusement park, The Luna Park Experimental Film & Media Series celebrates play, inquiry, and the transgression of accepted boundaries of medium and genre in the moving image. Drawing on diverse curatorial perspectives, the series presents new and rarely-seen works by artists testing form and social, cultural, and political structures. LUNA 2018 features programs curated by Staycee Pearl, Audra Wist, D.W. Anselmo, Suzie Silver and Hilary Harp, with screenings accompanied by workshops and performances by established and emerging artists.

Curated by Audra Wist
Featuring Deborah Stratman, Lex Brown, Brook Hsu, Tamara Santibañez and Audra Wist

Friday, March 23rd at Melwood Screening Room
7:00m, Screening of The Illinois Parables (runtime 1hr)
9pm, Talk back/Q&A with Audra Wist and Deborah Stratman

Saturday, March 24th at Melwood Screening Room
7:00pm, ARTISTS READING SOMETHING __________ IN THE BACKYARD with Lex Brown, Brook Hsu, Tamara Santibañez and Audra Wist
9:00pm, JEANNE DIELMAN’S RESTITUTION - panel discussion on the works in relation to the themes of power, sex, memory, repetition, and reclamation with homage to Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.

A screening, performance, and discussion series asking: What happens when we revisit personal and collective histories? How do we look back and why? How do sound, language, and cinema act as a conduit for memory?

This two-day program presents a screening of Deborah Stratman’s The Illinois Parables and talkback with the artist and curator Audra Wist, as well as a “reading” series Wist started in Los Angeles entitled ARTISTS READING SOMETHING ________ IN THE BACKYARD with four femme artists (Lex Brown - NYC, Brook Hsu - NYC, Audra Wist - PGH, and Tamara Santibañez - NYC) presenting interdisciplinary works. In addition to the screenings/presentations on Saturday, all four participants will form a discussion panel entitled JEANNE DIELMAN’S RESTITUTION that focuses on their work and scholarship regarding power relations, the status of women, and canon development lead to the need for ways of challenging normalised phallocentric ideas. Both days aim to explore ideas about repetition, revisitation, revolt, and restraint, with the work presented in the second evening being focused around these themes and Wist’s talk with Stratman reflecting on those themes in her work.


Audra Wist will be doing a reading from her new book of poems entitled UNLIMITED POWER (IS IN A ROSE) and showing a selection of films from her most recent series Aspirationals

Audra Wist is a writer, artist, and performer living and working in Los Angeles, CA originally from Pittsburgh, PA. Her work addresses social issues pertaining to power, desire, visibility and surveillance in an interdisciplinary way that investigates moral and ideological divisions. She has exhibited and performed at High Art (Paris), 56 Henry (New York), Wilding Cran (Los Angeles), Ace Hotel (Los Angeles), with her work also appearing on Vivid SiriusXM,, Sang Bleu,, Flaunt, Discipline Press, MATH and BRKFST magazine. She was a BDSM professional for 7 years and Autre magazine's sex editor-at-large conducting interviews and editorials. She studied at Carnegie Mellon University (BFA), Yale Norfolk, and UCLA (MFA) in New Genres.

Recently, Audra's work has consisted of installations that combine videos, drawings and objects that seek to encompass moments of surveillance in conjunction with  moments of reclamation — investigating how we are seen, how we take control, and defining the dynamics of spectatorship. The supplemental printed text and imagery demand answers as to how we interact with cameras and act as literal calls to arms. She addresses social issues pertaining to desire, visibility and surveillance in an interdisciplinary way that investigates moral and ideological divisions. While not explicit, her approach is rooted in her own background being involved in “acceptable” and “unacceptable” institutions (in this case institutions of art and sex work). Her process of merging of different artistic disciplines that are worked on simultaneously (poetry, drafting, performance, objects) along with different economic positions (student, sex worker, assistant, artist, etc) produce an inevitable mixing with works resulting in filmic installation gestures in an attempt to catch moments of desire and conflict i.e. of understanding and dissent, object and subject, revolt and restraint, and coexisting combinations thereof.

Lex Brown will present her 2017 video Lip Gloss Alurt, which debuted on the High Line in New York. She will talk about the role and representation of language in drawings and performance, and share work in progress for her upcoming April performance in Oslo, Norway.

Lex Brown is an artist and writer living in New York City. She received her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Yale University School of Art. Her work plays with the scale of personal and emotional experience in relation to large scale systems of social and economic organization. She has performed and exhibited work at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, REDCAT Theater and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the New Museum, the High Line, and International Center of Photography in New York. Her first work in fiction, My Wet Hot Drone Summer, a sci-fi erotic novella that takes on surveillance and social justice, is available from Badlands Unlimited.

In the process of dismantling her own internalized racism and sexism, Lex builds new characters, worlds, and linguistic relationships. The work reaches the viewer through an experience of variance: fluctuations between humor and seriousness open up a space for personal connection and examination. In drawings and sculptures, physical objects are rendered cartoonishly, while the process of seeing and reading words is heightened. Lex believes that language and emotion determine our world just as much as physical phenomena. If we refine our relationship to words, we can redefine our realities.

Tamara Santibañez's film is an intimate depiction of bootblacking as it is practiced in leather communities.  Contrary to existing portrayals of bootblacking as the domain of gay men and butches, the hands in the video are visibly femme, with long acrylic nails. Acrylic nails are rife with symbolism in queer communities, both as a mainstay of female drag and stereotypically a clue that a woman is straight, as the idea is that long nails prevent a woman from being able to engage in lesbian sex acts.  By presenting the hands with increasingly longer and longer fingernails, Tamara puts forth a more complex tableau of queer femme sexual practices, as well as examines the distinction between sexual attractiveness and grotesqueness.  

Tamara Santibañez (b. 1987) is a multimedia artist living and working in Brooklyn. Her work is rooted in subcultural semiotics, exploring the meanings we assign to materials, accessories and objects. Drawing from the worlds of fetish, punk, Chicanx art, and tattooing, she probes the weight objects hold as symbols and the ways in which style-based cultural signifiers function as shorthand for a coded communication. Santibañez is the founding editor of New York-based independent publishing house Discipline Press, a multimedia venture dedicated to reconnecting popular imagery of counterculture with the narratives and history of those who create it, with a focus on excavating experiences of marginalized peoples within subculture. As a tattoo artist working at the legendary Saved Tattoo, Santibañez is widely known for her innovative combination of Chicanx imagery with fetish iconography.

Tamara's work considers objects from her past and present, reimagining them as landscapes, artifacts, and fossils. She explores how clothing and accessories can become a shorthand for race, class, and gender, and how our own experiences inform our fluency in that language. In cross-referencing seemingly disparate parts of my cultural background, she draws out commonalities and weaves connections where there were none, creating artifacts that represent complexities not often granted to my communities. Using inanimate objects as stand-ins for human figures and relationships, she emphasizes the undulating exchange between power and vulnerability, otherness and assimilation, generational expectations and individual capability.

Brook Hsu makes art in order to make room for a way of experiencing that destabilizes the hierarchies we habitually reproduce, file an annulment from a fixed identity, and reinvent how we think. She sees art as a bastardized life form trying to survive extinction, with its own reproductive objectives fixated on truth and beauty. Inhabited by an unusual cast of characters from bunnies, butterflies, skeletons and the ancient Greek god Pan to my mother, anthropoid figures, and Kim Kardashian, she continues her focus on the symbolic, the sentimental, the erotic, and the spiritual.

Brook Hsu (b. 1987) grew up in Oklahoma. Hsu received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2010 and her MFA from Yale University, New Haven in 2016. She has exhibited nationally and internationally including Deli Gallery (NY), Vernon Gardens (CA), BBQLA (CA), Carrie Secrist Gallery (IL), GRIN Contemporary (RI), Bahamas Biennale (MI), Page Gallery (NY), Vacant Farm (MO), Double Double Land (Toronto, Canada), and Galleri CC (Malmo, Sweden).

Deborah Stratman makes work that investigates issues of power, control and belief, exploring how places, ideas, and society are intertwined.  Recent projects have addressed freedom, sinkholes, comets, orthoptera, surveillance, manifest destiny, infrastructure, levitation and faith.  She has exhibited internationally at venues including MoMA NY, Centre Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Mercer Union, Witte de With, the Whitney Biennial and festivals including Sundance, Viennale, Berlinale, CPH/DOX, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame and Rotterdam.  Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim and USA Collins Fellowships, an Alpert Award, Sundance Art of Nonfiction Award and grants from Creative Capital, Graham Foundation, and Wexner Center for the Arts.  She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.