No Human Involved: The 5th Annual Sex Workers’ Art Show
November 8 – December 14, 2019
The phrase *“no human involved” (“NHI”) is a slang term that has been commonly used by police to refer to crimes involving the murder or injury of sex workers, drug users, gang members, immigrants, and transient folks, with Black and Brown populations disproportionately affected. Use of the term spiked significantly in 1980s Los Angeles, its increased popularity a reminder of how the dehumanization and criminalization of sex workers and other marginalized populations is consistently enforced, normalized, and upheld by the interlocking injustices and oppressions of capitalism, racism, White supremacy, imperialism, settler-colonialism, nationalism, borders, carceral and police states, patriarchy, xenophobia, transphobia, homophobia, and gender-based violence.The phrase has since been used by numerous artists, activists, filmmakers, scholars, and writers across media, literature, and research to illuminate and bring awareness to targeted forms of violence.
**No Human Involved: The 5th Annual Sex Workers’ Art Show speaks to dehumanizing socio-political systems and cultural conditions through the artistic voices and viewpoints of sex workers themselves. Far from just a show “about” sex work, and intentionally subverting or rejecting clichéd romanticized or pitiable representations, No Human Involved seeks to complicate narratives of sex work by showcasing artists’ projects that critically examine and engage–and deconstruct and reconstruct–dynamics of emotion, labor, landscape, language, humor, family, identity, and community. Curated through a competitive, international open call, multiple works by 15 artists span installation, video, photography, new media, sculpture, drawing, painting, printmaking, and performance. In proximity and in conversation, these artists’ conceptually and politically aware uses of material and form combine to question and destabilize our most socially ingrained perceptions and assumptions about gender, power, desire, economy, sexuality, feminism, labor, and love.
No Human Involved: The 5th Annual Sex Workers’ Art Show is co-curated by Kat Salas and Matilda Bickers of STROLL PDX, a harm reduction, education, and outreach group run by and for sex workers, in collaboration with Roya Amirsoleymani, Artistic Director & Curator, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA). It honors the history, spirit, and tradition of STROLL PDX’s annual sex workers’ art show and other grassroots exhibitions of, by, and for sex workers and their communities, while expanding the Portland project’s platform and possibilities through PICA’s space, visibility, and resources.
Brittany Marie Chavez, Dee Lyrium, Ev Echovia + Bane Belladonna, Evie Snax, Pxssycontrol, Julia Arredondo, Amanda Lee, Juicebox, Kathleen Boudwin, Mona Superhero, Pallace de la Garza, Philip Edward King, Sathya, sean chamberlain, The Stripper Project.
Public Opening: Friday, November 8, 2019
6:00-9:00pm Reception with hosted bar
6:30pm Curators’ and Artists Remarks
7:15pm Performance by Dee Lyrium (Portland)
8:00pm Performance by Juicebox (New Orleans)
9:00pm-12:00am Celebration with cash bar, dance party, and DJ
Thursdays & Fridays, 12:00 – 6:00pm
Saturdays, 12:00 – 4:00pm
Age Advisory: 18+
Art, Activism, & Publishing in Sex Work, a free, public symposium on November 6-9, will run in conjunction with the exhibition and will explore the intersection of art, activism, and publishing, with a particular focus on sex workers and their communities. Featuring a lecture by writer, activist, and rogue intellectual Emi Koyama, panel discussions, and a special edition of STROLL PDX’s zine publication, Working It, featuring critical and creative writing by sex workers, and designed and printed at the IPRC in collaboration with visiting artist Rose Nordin (London, UK).
*We would like to acknowledge filmmaker, artist, and SW activist PJ Starr for in-depth conversation on the title of this exhibition, and for providing further resources and references in connection to it.
**“No Human Involved” (“NHI”) Reference Guide