In response to the current Queer British Art 1861-1967 exhibition at the Tate Britain, a number of LGBT+ filmmakers were asked to create shorts in collaboration with Channel 4’s Random Acts. One of the shining results is ‘Day Dream’ by Stephen Isaac-Wilson, starring Kareem Reid. While wonderfully tranquil and intimate, ‘Day Dream’ provides the framework for an urgent and moving conversation about reality of the queer black body politic. Kareem is an artist and writer, who founded ‘Body Party’— a nightlife experience for queer black people, by queer black people — that aims to create a space and narrative for these bodies that seeks not to exploit, but rather to normalise, centre and affirm.
In these tender visuals we drift from Kareem’s bedroom, to woods skirting urbanity, to an ethereal Luhrmann-esque space not unlike something out of Looking For Langston, all the while with Kareem meditating on everything from the importance and necessity of queer nightlife spaces (often spaces of communion, where marginalised people may reclaim the agency, excitement and freedom their bodies are denied by day), to isolation, loneliness, and the othering effect of having the work of QPOC artists pigeonholed as a subcultural conversation. Kareem highlights that representation without material security and the varied other social capitals required to survive and indeed thrive, while important, is not the be all and end all.
The powerful collaborative effort between the pair never sacrifices its punch for its delicacy, weaving the heaviness of its subject matter together with a softness, that creates a masterful, balanced and elevated piece— one that while hopeful and visually delicate doesn’t call for, or allow for, our complacency.
Watch the short here: