Portrait of a Young Man

Video, 2003. English and American Sign Language.
13 minutes. 
“There is a beauty in connecting lines between these queer sounds, of tracing a constellation of stars within a vast galaxy of voices. Yet each voice is undeniably unique, each is his own singing creature, and it is not Somerville’s vocal range alone that defines him.” 

Three disparate sign systems — flower arranging, astronomy and American Sign Language — are used to create an experimental portrait of the unique sonic and political qualities of the voice of singer and queer cultural icon Jimmy Somerville.

Portrait of a Young Man was produced during an artist residency at the International Studio & Curatorial Programme (ISCP) in Brooklyn, New York, and features performer and ASL interpreter Zachary Wager Scholl.

Portrait of a Young Man was first exhibited as part of Paraphrasing Babel, an exhibition in public spaces throughout Maastricht, The Netherlands, in 2012.

Portrait of a Young Man emerged out of You and Me Together Fighting for Our Love, a series of artistic gestures that pay hommage to Jimmy Somerville.