Jacolby Satterwhite is known for creating virtual worlds that feature multiple avatars of himself voguing within densely rendered neon landscapes. He populates those landscapes with three-dimensional objects painstakingly traced in the animation program Maya from drawings that his mother made during his childhood in the hopes of striking it rich on the Home Shopping Network. This article focuses on an early work, The Country Ball (2012), an animated video that brings together archival footage from Satterwhite’s family at a 1989 Mother’s Day cookout alongside his mother’s drawings of what he calls “recreational American material culture.” The author argues that Satterwhite’s virtual performances link queerness and utopia: his animated avatars make manifest his desire to occupy a world as multiplicitous and far-reaching as his sense of self. However, the author believes that this queer utopics begins with Satterwhite’s mother and her crafting of a creative process in the midst of terrible constraints on her physical and economic mobility. By reading the artist’s virtual worlds through his mother’s drawings, the author investigates a similar strategy of “making do to make new,” or reworking the mundane in the service of the marvelous.
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Research Article| November 01 2020
A Family Affair: Jacolby Satterwhite’s Queer Utopics
Nka (2020) 2020 (47): 56–66.
Christina Knight; A Family Affair: Jacolby Satterwhite’s Queer Utopics. Nka 1 November 2020; 2020 (47): 56–66. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-8719641
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