Khadija Griffith, Oisin Monaghan, and John Alix during an open rehearsal as part of Brendan Fernandes’s residency at Recess, Steady Pulse (image courtesy Recess)

For some people, a nightclub is just a nightclub — a place to dance and have a good time. For others, including many LGBTQ folks, a nightclub can be a political space of possibility, at least until its sanctuary is shattered by violence. Artist Brendan Fernandes is using his current session at Recess to explore “the valences of the dance floor as a queer space that is variously safe and unsafe — a site for joy and fear, release and reflection.” As part of the project, he’s constructed a dance floor comprised of panels in varying flesh tones, along with several coat racks bearing 49 hangers — one for each victim of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

In the space this Friday night, August 25, Fernandes will stage Free Fall. It’s conceived as both a dance party and a performance, during which music DJed by Thomas Ian Campbell will stop 49 times; with each break, the performers will fall to the ground (and then, presumably, rise again). The day after this meditation on the frailty and resilience of the human body, people are invited to stop by Recess and sign the dance floor. Inspired by Santa Monica’s Highways Performance Space, where the names of dancers and actors who died of AIDS are inscribed on the floor, Fernandes will close out his residency by turning his own dance floor into a memorial.

When: Friday, August 25, 7–9pm; Saturday, August 26, 12–6pm
Where: Recess (41 Grand Street, Soho, Manhattan)

More info here.

Jillian Steinhauer is a former senior editor of Hyperallergic. She writes largely about the intersection of art and politics but has also been known to write at length about cats. She won the 2014 Best...