Hysteria or Ugly Part 2 is a performance, Film, and installation that continues Raja Feather Kelly’s study of pop culture and its displacement of Queer Black subjectivity. Picking up where his 2018 performance, UGLY Part 1 or Black Queer Zoo, left off, Kelly situates himself as a glamorous, extraterrestrial entity—both alien to the world and wholly consuming its pop cultural byproducts. HYSTERIA marks the collapse of fiction into fact, tracking the subsequent inner turmoil, confusion, and mania that Kelly sets out to exorcise.
New York Times calls Hysteria a “primetime sample of New York Culture” and says that Kelly’s work “has a flirty wink and a queer sensibility that dispenses with spiritual heaviness and treats popular culture as a kind of religion itself. Mr. Kelly’s fusion of dance and theatre shifts seamlessly from the absurd to cheeky to the unexpectedly and piercingly sincere”.
Commissioned by New York Live Arts in New York City, as part of the 2019–2020 Randjelović/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist Residency (RCA) Hysteria was featured internationally via Raja Feather Kelly’s HysteriaHysteria Summer 2021 PINK AMBITION International Tour, kicking off with a socially distanced live remount in Live Arts’ Ford Foundation Live Gallery April 8-10 2021. Kelly’s solo dance, theater, visual performance, Film, and installation reached 7 cities in 7 months. Co-presenters and tour locations included: On the Boards in Seattle, WA (Film Screening), Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH (Film Screening), Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME (Film Screening), ImPulsTanz – Vienna International Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria (Live), and The Time-Based Art Festival at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, OR (Film Screening).
At the Damn These Heels this year Raja will show Hysteria and a preview of a new work currently commissioned by Salt Lake’s Ririe Woodbury Dance Company. Performances will include a panel discussion with Raja and Q&A.