No More White Presidents with special guest Gavin Rayna Russom

Directed by: Gavin Rayna Russom

Friday, August 23, 6:00 PM

A Queer Pride & Chicago Filmmakers present the Chicago premiere of NO MORE WHITE PRESIDENTS (NMWP), an experimental film by Gavin Rayna Russom (LCD Soundsystem, Black Meteoric Star, Ladies of LCD Soundsystem). The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker, as well as Immigration Justice Activist Jennicet Gutiérrez (Familia TQLM), and activist, artist and community organizer Elijah McKinnon (People Who Care, PrEP4Love Open TV, Reunion).

NMWP features a soundtrack by Rayna's alias, Black Meteoric Star and, from the perspective of her emerging trans feminine identity, opens up a territory for the exploration and interpretation of the themes of abolition and reparations in our current political climate. NMWP made its debut at the Knockdown Center in New York in 2017, and screened at Moogfest in Durham, NC in 2018.


A Note from the Filmmaker
NO MORE WHITE PRESIDENTS is a multi-layered abstract film that I completed in January of 2017. For the film I developed what I am calling the “flash film” technique. Initially it was a structural device similar to the chance operations used by composers such as John Cage to get out of the practice of creating “slick” edits or “moves” predetermined by overarching institutionalized aesthetic norms. However, as I worked with it I began to discover that the technique, although certainly “experimental”, has more kinship with craft techniques I have practiced such as beading, knitting, weaving and braiding. Although on the surface it could simply be a long form music video for my Black Meteoric Star project, it is in fact a complex of evocative and energetic themes gathered around the necessity for abolition and reparations. The themes that are “braided” or “beaded” together include a repetitive meditation on death, an assessment of global capitalism as so overburdened by the karma of the triple legacies of slavery, land theft/genocide and imperialism that it can no longer function, an invocation of several of the Orishas prominent in the Afro-Cuban "Reglas Lukumi" and an exploration of my emerging Trans-Feminine identity. The intention of the film is to open up a territory for exploration and interpretation around our current predicament, allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions about the specific details and possible solutions, both individually and through discussions with others. 

About Gavin Rayna Russom
Gavin Rayna Russom is a New York based multimedia artist, DJ and composer of electronic music. Using the analog and digital synthesizer she has produced a body of extremely influential art and music over the last 15 years. She has created work as a solo artist and in collaboration and is the synthesist in LCD Soundsystem. In addition to recording and performing music, she has also exhibited her transdisciplinary artwork in museums, galleries and cultural institutions internationally. Part of Rayna’s vision is to combine academia, music and art, to transform culture through spiritual ideas, using nightlife as a medium to connect with people’s daily lives. In February Rayna’s large scale installation work “SINless" was included in “Producing Futures: An Exhibition on Post Cyber Feminisms” at the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zurich, Switzerland.  She recently debuted a new track "Heaven's Highway" featuring Chicago based rapper KC Ortiz, via Adult Swim Singles.  

About the Panelists
Familia TQLM and Familia's founder Jennicet Gutierrez
Jennicet Gutiérrez is a transgender Latina organizer from México. She was born in Tuxpan, Jalisco. She is an organizer of Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement. Jennicet believes in the importance of uplifting and centering the voices of trans women of color in all racial justice work. Jennicet will continue to organize in order to end the deportation, incarceration and criminalization of immigrants and all people of color. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement was founded in 2014 and it is a national grassroots organizing and political home for the trans and queer Latinx community in the United States. For the past 4 years Familia: TQLM has been organizing at the intersection of LGBTQ and immigrant rights, and racial justice. In June 2015 the national community organizer, Jennicet Gutierrez interrupted President Obama to demand the release of trans undocumented women from detention centers and an end to all deportations. Her interruption made national and international headlines and brought attention to the abuse and discrimination trans women and all undocumented immigrants are facing inside detention facilities across the United States. Jennicet Gutiérrez
Elijah McKinnon
Elijah is an award-winning strategist, creative director, entrepreneur, artist and advocate from the future currently residing on planet earth. They received a Bachelors of Science from the Art Institute of San Francisco in Marketing and Management with a focus in Campaign Development and New Media studies. In addition to serving as the Founder and Director of People Who Care, Inc.  an independent consultancy that works exclusively with nonprofits and grassroots initiatives such as AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Northwestern University, The Andy Warhol Foundation, Grindr for Equality, Raúl Anguiano Art Museum, Center for Disease Control and many more  they are also deeply involved in queer, creative and philanthropic communities around the globe.
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