Ways of Being Free gathers moving image works that push and pull at the primacy of individualism. An ideal that often leaves little room for nuance, individualism above all else frequently exists in conflict with modes of living and being that emphasize negotiation and collectivity, or wielding power in more subtle ways. The films and videos assembled in this program muse on obligation and agency, will and submission, to complicate traditionally Western notions of independence and what it means to be free/unfree.
–Dessane Lopez Cassell, Juror


Essi Westerman
Through a collection of home videos from a family trip to Côte D’Ivoire in 2002, this video captures the traces of home my mother has strategically placed in our current lives in order to preserve and pass them down.

Devon Lodge

When Grandma Birdie passed in 2018, I saved all her voicemails because that would be the only way I could hear her speak again. On her birthday this year, I spent the day at her resting place and went rollerskating after. I danced in her honor and would later combine this snippet with her voicemail to create a piece that commemorates her spirit.

Looking Back   
Sabina Kariat

“Aunty" Renee Neblett grew up in the US and worked there as an artist and activist before moving to a small village in Ghana, where she has lived for 30 years. Since moving away, she has questioned American definitions of success and progress. Here are a few of her thoughts. 

What If   
Guo Mong
What If
explores the layered identity of an American immigrant from Hong Kong through the combined languages of bilingualism and memory.

o mar me lembra você (the sea reminds me of you)   
Maria Clara Merçon Nevôa

Through the projection of videos shot in the artist's hometown of Niterói, Brazil, onto different bodies of water around the Bay Area, this piece attempts to re-encounter familiarity and self in a diferent land. This is a piece about emotional and physical distancing, migration, and selfhood.

Fluid Bound   
Roberto Fatal
An experimental Indigenous Mestize film that uses text, sound, animation, and bondage rope to meditate on the complex, generations-old relationships and battles between our skin and our souls.

Are You Looking for Sexy Asian Women?
Justine Xi
This piece explores the sexualization of Asian women in advertisements that exist alongside online streaming of popular Asian TV drama series. The intervention upends expectations of the former, reversing the gaze with a progression of subjects increased agency.

The Divergent Woman (an experimental video considering compulsory heterosexuality & the ______ experience)
Gwen Thompson

This experimental video functions explicitly as a stream of consciousness response to the subject of compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. A nod to Adrienne Rich’s formative essay, identity is viewed through the lens of a young masculine-of-center Black woman, understanding her place within a system that doesn’t create space for her and the reality of being seen as an anomaly rather than an expression of womanhood that is purposefully divergent.
Khat-e Penhun/Hidden Line   
Gazelle Samizay

Khat-e Penhan / Hidden Line is a surreal portrait of a young Afghan America girl who struggles to find her way to self-expression, ensnared by others who demand her conformity.

Wei Keong Tan
A lost man falls apart in a forest.
En la tierra de los sueños  (In The Land Of The Dreams)
Joshua Solis

Witness the beautiful skyline of San Francisco while the artist struggles trying to cross the SF Bay during low tide.
Katherine Tolentino
Chinese teenager Wendy struggles to adapt to her new American life.


Southern Exposure presents new moving image work by Bay Area BIPOC artists juried by Dessane Lopez Cassell, independent curator and writer, chair of the experimental film subcommittee for BlackStar Film Festival, and Editor of Reviews at Hyperallergic.
Now in its 29th year, the Juried Exhibition is a longstanding tradition that exemplifies Southern Exposure’s mission and our commitment to supporting new, innovative, risk-taking contemporary visual art practices.

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a curator, writer, and editor based in New York. Her film curation and writing generally focus on artists’ moving image, documentary, and experimental film practices concerned with race, gender, and representation. Cassell has organized curatorial projects and screenings for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), MoMA Film, and Flaherty NYC, among others, and her writing has been published in catalogues issued by the Whitney Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and MoMA. Currently, Cassell chairs the experimental film subcommittee for BlackStar Film Festival and serves as Editor of Reviews at Hyperallergic.

Southern Exposure (SoEx) is an artist-centered non-profit organization committed to supporting visual artists. Through our extensive and innovative programming, SoEx strives to experiment, collaborate and further educate while providing an extraordinary resource center and forum for Bay Area and national artists and youth in our Mission District space and off-site, in the public realm.

SoEx has remained an active presence in the Bay Area since 1974. We are continually evolving in response to the needs of artists and the community while engaging the public in artists' work. Central to our mission is to remain the most accessible space for visual artists to produce and present new work, learn, and connect. SoEx provides visual artists with the tools and resources they need to experiment in an open and supportive environment. We also work to advocate to new, diverse audiences and build an ever-growing community of enthusiasts and supporters of the visual arts. 

Southern Exposure respectfully acknowledges that we are based in Yelamu, the unceded, occupied land of the Ramaytush Ohlone people. We honor and recognize the native people that stewarded this land for thousands of years and continue to do so. We acknowledge the history of this stolen land and that we benefit from that.

Southern Exposure
3030 20th Street @ Alabama
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