“Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” 2017. Exhibition View: New Museum. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

Lost in the Music

2017 | HD video installation, sound, color; 4:20 min

A shattered mirror serves as a screen for a film commemorating Black trans activist and performer Marsha "Pay It No Mind" Johnson. The installation interweaves imagined scenes with archival footage of Johnson invoking her historically decisive—though rarely acknowledged—role in instigating the 1969 anti-policing riots at the Stonewall Inn, a watershed event for the gay liberation movement. One account of the Stonewall Riots claims that the “first brick” thrown at the Stonewall Inn was actually a shot glass with which Johnson shattered a mirror and triggered a full-blown rebellion. Blending documentary storytelling with historical fiction, Lost in the Music counters the endemic erasure of trans women of color from narratives of political resistance.