The original Summer of Love occurred in San Francisco in 1967 as the grand explosion of rebellion from the burgeoning hippy subculture. If the first Summer of Love was a spectacle of flowers and loud color palettes, then the second that originated in London with the explosion of acid house and rave culture in 1988-89 was a feeling that erupted in sweat and physicality.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Second Summer of Love and the opening of their new SoHo boutique, Gucci teamed with London art magazine Frieze to sponsor a series of films celebrating electronic dance music and specifically its roots in the culture of queer people of color. This film directed by the visionary trans filmmaker, artist and performer Wu Tsang is titled “Into a Space of Love” pays homage to the New York house music scene that developed in legendary clubs like the Paradise Garage and Club Zanzibar which would simply be dubbed “garage house.”
To those who feel unwelcome and debilitated by society (particularly queer black youth) these clubs have been their sanctuary where they can genuinely express themselves through clothing, music, dance and especially community. Gucci seems to have taken influence from this idea for their new SoHo store which looks less like a place to buy things and more like an ornate haven of expression. Wu Tsang acknowledges the magnitude and deeply emotional and sociopolitical impact of these venues through her camera and visual work by filming the club in an almost reverent way that establishes it as a place of sheer awe and wonder. She visualizes and lenses it with a profound sense of care and utmost respect as though she was filming the Sistine Chapel instead of a club in NYC.
It is with equal reverence, that Wu Tsang treats the people she films including tastemaking DJ’s Venus X and Shaun J. Wright, esteemed drag queen and member of one of the legendary vogue-ballroom houses (the House of Aviance) Kevin Aviance, and the activist/performer speaking for persons diagnosed with HIV, Kia LaBeija, who takes her name from the equally legendary House of LaBeija. These talents are royalty with deep connections to the community and Tsang films them using low angle shots to match their appearance to their regal status and personalities. Going on to capture them at their most natural environment, moving and specifically vogueing to express themselves and what they feel. Not unlike Superman, their costumes are everyday clothes to get by in society, and their true self is what they wear in these chapels of culture and mutual respect.
Kudos to Gucci and Frieze for recognizing the cultural significance of this tribe and commissioning Wu Tsang’s “Into a Space of Love.” The film can be viewed in its entirety in the dedicated screening room of the new SoHo Gucci store at 63 Wooster Street in New York. A happening chapel of its own.
Director | Wu Tsang
Talent | DJ’s Venus X, Shaun J. Wright, Kevin Aviance, Kia LaBeija
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