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Using Sanders’ time working in a small sex club – a space of sexual and social liberty for an underrepresented gay and trans clientele – as a point of departure, After Carmen offers a visual and aural installation which examines local queer histories and the more recent alliances between queer identities, gentrification and neoliberal capitalism.


After Carmen pays homage to queer Wellington icon Carmen Rupe. The installation references a coded language which developed in Rupe’s cafe, Carmen’s Coffee Lounge. Patrons would indicate their interest in sexual partners via the placement of their teacup. For example, the cup being placed upside down expressed they were looking for heterosexual sex, on its side for sex with a transwoman or drag queen, or placed underneath its saucer for a gay liaison. For After Carmen, Sanders has appropriated the throbbing bassline of the contemporary queer economy. Positioned as propaganda, seductive and entertaining, though uncomfortably juxtaposed against the stark coldness of the almost empty gallery, Sanders pays attention to the conflict of language, and the ways it can simultaneously occupy and resist oppressive frameworks.

Daniel John Corbett Sanders is an artists based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, New Zealand. Recent exhibitions include Under Your Skin You Look Divine, Basement Adult Store and Sex Club (NZ); I hate you, I hate you, I hate you; I hate you because I love you, Michael Lett Gallery w/ Artspace (NZ); A Room of Our Own, Auckland Pride Festival (NZ); Fuck me 3, RM Gallery (NZ); and Fuck Me Too, Artspace (NZ). He currently works as a co-director of RM Gallery and Projectspace, and at BasementNZ Adult Store and Sex Club. Sanders is currently studying towards his Master of Visual Arts at Auckland University of Technology (NZ).

Photos: Mia Vinaccia

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