Summer Research Dispatch: Edgar Fabián Frías and the Queer, Trans & Gender Variant Ancestors Project

17 Aug, 2021

Summer Research Dispatch: Edgar Fabián Frías and the Queer, Trans & Gender Variant Ancestors Project

Each year, the Berkeley Center for New Media is thrilled to offer summer research awards to support our graduates in their cutting edge work. Below, Edgar Fabián Frías describes how they used the funds to develop their Queer, Trans & Gender Variant Ancestors Project through a series of conversations.

This Summer I have had the opportunity to work on the Queer, Trans & Gender Variant Ancestors Project thanks to the support I received from the BCNM’s Summer Research Fellowship. As a part of this project, I have been able to meet virtually with artists Michael Espinoza, Bunny Michael, Charlie Amáyá Scott, and Jobis Shosho. Each person has agreed to be a part of this project and the videos we’ve recorded have been placed on my YouTube Channel and shared over my social media platforms as well. This project has evolved and changed throughout its development. It’s been deeply affirming for me to connect with these artists and learn from them about their own connection to their ancestors and how important it is to share the messages from our ancestors with other queer, trans, and gender variant folks. At the time of this writing, I have debuted the first two videos from this project on my YouTube Channel and have had at least 20 people at each live premiere event on YouTube. This has helped to create connections between folks and also encourage dialogue between artists and their communities.

In addition to this, I have developed a billboard design that includes images of the participants and will include a QR code that will lead people to the Queer, Trans & Gender Variant Ancestors Playlist on my YouTube Channel. I am currently working with a few people who are interested in showcasing it at their venues. The first is curator Kevin B. Chen who is in conversation with SOMArts about us putting up this billboard outside of their building. The second person is the artist Erica Deeman who has started a conversation with Minnesota Street Projects about the billboard. These have not been confirmed 100% and therefore, I have also been reaching out to other venues to see if I could potentially hang the billboard I’m going to create outside of their spaces. The funds I received from this award have helped me to be able to pay the participants of this project as well as have the funds available to print a large billboard. It has also helped to support me as I have spent dozens of hours coordinating, filming, editing, and marketing this project. I could not have done this without your support!

Below is a link for the project where I will be posting the YouTube Videos as they’re released. I will also be including documentation of the billboard once it’s installed on this page as well.