Thomas Allen Harris: Screening and Conversation

Thomas Allen Harris: Screening and Conversation

Thomas Allen Harris, Blue Baby, 1996/1997. Performance, San Diego.

Thomas Allen Harris: Screening and Conversation

Admission starts at $5

May 2, 2024, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Thursday, May 2 at 7pm for a screening of two works by Thomas Allen Harris, curated by Daniella Brito.

Harris’ films are among a series of videotapes derived from the artist’s archive of his performance work from the 1990s. In Blue Baby, he embodies an infant who would have been aborted had their family known they would grow up to be queer. The recurrent performance intervention took place across public spaces in Los Angeles, ranging from shopping malls, to museums and cafés. In the second work, titled Heaven, Earth & Hell, Harris conjures the Trickster figure—an archetype found across Afro-diasporic and Indigenous folklore—to recount the story of his first queer love. In both works, Harris captures the gaze of the observer through disguise. As the artist adorns himself in striking body and face paint, he toys with notions of public spectacle, gesturing towards the racial, sexual, and gender subjectivities that fabricate cultural difference.  

After the films, Harris will be in conversation with Brito as they ask: How does identity inform social otherization? And how can we understand the different implications of spectatorship between performance documentation and live performance?


Blue Baby (1996/1997, 29 minutes)
Blue Baby is part of a series of performance-based videotapes that satirically examine identity and representation while investigating African diasporic cosmologies and ritual practices.

Heaven, Earth & Hell (1993, 25 minutes)
Reflecting upon the figure of the trickster in African and Native American culture while recounting the story of his first love, Harris creates a moving lament for the loss of innocence in a world without magic. The work interweaves critical texts by Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, and James Baldwin.

For more information, contact program [​at​]

– Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.
– For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.
– e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Performance, Indigenous Issues & Indigeneity
Experimental Film, Documentary, Queer Art & Theory, Africa, USA, Mythology, Love, Video Art

Thomas Allen Harris is an artist, filmmaker, and scholar whose work across film, video, photography, and performance illuminates the human condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. His mythopoetic films include Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014) and Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela: A Son’s Tribute to Unsung Heroes (2005). In 2009, Harris founded Digital Diaspora Family Reunion, LLC (DDFR) a socially engaged transmedia project that incorporates community organizing, performance, virtual gathering spaces, and storytelling into unique audio-visual events in over 75 cities in North and South America and Africa. The project culminated in the critically acclaimed PBS series Family Pictures USA, as well as the creation of the Family Pictures Institute for Inclusive Storytelling which uses the family album as a vehicle to connect people across differences. Harris is currently in production on My Mom, The Scientist, an examination of the relationship between art, science, and spirituality. He is a Professor in the Practice at Yale University in African American Studies and Film & Media Studies.

Daniella Brito is a Dominican-American writer and curator from New York City. Trained in art history, Brito draws from visual cultural studies, queer theory, and decolonial aesthetics within their writing to document queer performance histories. Their writing has appeared in publications like The Kitchen Magazine, Hyperallergic, Contemporary And, Document Journal, Them, and elsewhere. They have written exhibition catalogs for institutions like The Studio Museum in Harlem, Harper’s Gallery, and Deli Gallery. Brito has held curatorial and programmatic roles at Art Labour Archives (Berlin), Decad (Berlin), The Knockdown Center (New York), El Museo Del Barrio (New York), and more. They have curated programs and presented work at spaces including e-flux Screening Room, The Kitchen, Fridman Gallery, Canal Projects, and NEW INC. They were the 2022-2023 LAB Research Residency Fellow at The Kitchen.

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