Queen for a Day

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Queen for a Day is Deborah-Joyce Holman’s debut publication, staging a conversation between two of the artist’s films, Moment and Moment 2 (2022), and the work of cinema verité they take as a primary material: Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason (1967). One ‘queen’ of this title is Jason Holliday, the Black gay male subject at the centre of Clarke’s film with whom Holman wants to act in solidarity. Finding Jason captured by the extractive gaze and exhausting line of questioning of a white female director, Holman works to reproduce his words, rather than his image, placing them as looping samples of script in the mouths of two performers, Imani Mason Jordan (Moment) and Rebecca Bellantoni (Moment and Moment 2). The loop is intended to be liberatory, a way of paying homage to Jason’s utterances via repetition, and to render them abstract and opaque, allowing the new script – included in this book as a series of textual interludes – to function as camouflage.

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