Switching Codes of Pleasure: Panel Discussion on Sex Work in Academia and Art Institutions

Saturday, Feb 1, 2020 6 – 8 pm

2233 S. Throop St.
Chicago, IL 60608


Switching Codes of Pleasure is a panel discussion moderated by New Media Program artist-in-residence Wanbli Gamache, addressing how sex workers operate within art-making, institutional education, and the different modes of technology they use. Panelists provide insight on how they approach their own experiences, work, and research centered around gender, sexuality, and new media formats. This event provides a look into the current realities of existing within such institutions as sex workers.

The event includes works by Stevie Cisneros Hanley, Shawné Michaelain Holloway, and a performance by Wanbli Gamache. Please note that the performance includes some nudity.

Wanbli Gamache is a Chicago-based new media performance artist. She reconstructs the dynamics of spectacle, authorship, and intimacy through eroticized mediation of self-hood and body. She is an alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s film, video, new media, and animation department. Gamache has exhibited work at ACRE Gallery, Links Hall, Sullivan Galleries, and Zhou B Art Center, Chicago; and the Supernova Digital Animation Festival, Denver.

Stevie Cisneros Hanley is a Chicago-based artist, and a California native of mixed indigenous Hawaiian, Mexican, Irish, and Punjabi heritage. Hanley has exhibited extensively in Berlin, most notably in Kunstraum Bethanien, the Schwules Museum, and September. Their work delineates spaces of the sacred and profane, while creating a ritualized agency. They are an educator, artist, and sex worker that operates sexual reorientation through their Mormon upbringing.

Shawné Michaelain Holloway is a new media artist and founder of STRAPP, a design collaborative that reimagines adult novelty products. Holloway shapes the rhetorics of technology and sexuality into tools for exposing structures of power. She has spoken and exhibited work in spaces including the Kitchen and New Museum, New York; Sorbus Galleria, Helsinki; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Holloway teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Eva Robinson is a nightlife performer by the name APoliticalGirl. Equal parts TS conjurer and respectability antagonist, her research considers the implications of contemporary inclusions of transgender and gender nonconforming representation into media and academia alongside the ongoing state of emergency regarding femicide and transfemicide, and the eroticization of violence. Robinson is concerned with structural hierarchies within sex work, and collectives that redistribute resources for black and trans queer youth and sex workers.

Kirin Wachter-Grene is an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She holds a PhD from the University of Washington with a focus on African American literature and gender and sexuality studies, and was a visiting scholar at the Leather Archives and Museum. Her articles and reviews have been published in African American Review, the Black Scholar, Callaloo, Feminist Formations, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, and Sixty Inches from Center.


Image: Wanbli Gamache, He Wanted This More Than Anything, 2019. Courtesy of the artist