The ability for anyone or any-body to appear in public space is determined by multiple conditions. At any given time and place, certain things are visible, audible, recognizable, and other things are not. How, why, whether, and for whom, people or things appear publicly is a political, social, economic, and aesthetic concern.
Queer bodies in public space have often been vexed by normative regulatory systems that either render them invisible OR punish them for being too queer (too blatant, too public, too aggressive in their presentation). Racial, class, and generational difference amplify the precarity of occupying public and civic space(s) particularly with respect to the ways in which these differences shape what trans legal scholar Dean Spade calls “access to life chances.” Said simply, not all queer bodies are the same and, as such, queer people move through the spatial, temporal, political, social, economic, and psychic spaces of a given city very differently.
If we had had (working title) is a project that uses video and performance to unspool a set of conditional possibilities for and around queer living. The project focuses in on the spatial sites of the neighborhood and the bar to posit a fictional collection of people that could, co-exist in those places. If we had had speaks to the radical psychic, social, sexual, and political role that queer bars have played in New Orleans.
Engaging New Orleans, geographically, socio-politically and historically, as a platform, If we had had creates and documents small scenes of activity in which 7 people (queer, lesbian, transman, transwoman, gender-queer, and/or gender non-binary) navigate through a distinct social-spatial trajectory through and around the greater New Orleans boundaries. Neither documentary nor fiction, these videos/scenes exist as propositions that ask how queerness or queer embodiments shape spatial spheres of possibility and constraint; visibility and invisibility; activity and action.