There are very few art and game experiences that I’m willing to point to as life-changing and even fewer that I would actually recommend for that reason.
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s BLACKTRANSARCHIVE is one of these, and I implore you to get on a computer and go there. Bear the vision of, help recognise and raise up a digitally pro-black, pro-trans exploratory world.
Continually, in every corner of the place Brathwaite-Shirley creates and cradles, with its population of characters created in workshops with fellow black, trans people, the archive takes part in forms of holding. Trying to hold onto you while also asking for you to confirm, state that you are able to understand and are willing to be void of the hostilities that plague black trans lives, conscious of the space. While the style of the work, from my reference points resembles computer art of a very cynical (and very white) type, the archive is an almost biological entity in the force with which it rejects that reference point.
It feels like it is propelled by the total effort to draw attention to alienation in a non-cynical fashion. To welcome in, to be wary of, to present an archive of knowing care and fear. A mechanic of three selections to make provides a path through a tapestry of these kinds of experiences, feeling you through its world into the feelings of forces of elation and fear for and as a trans person, and for me reminders of my whiteness in the space. The game’s life changing approach is that it doesn’t make bones about its relationships to identity, or to its artistic expressions, or its convictions, but centres them, presents its confidence as a dedication.
There is no choice but to be actively Pro-Black, Pro-Trans, to not back down from that stance or conveniently forget it. Our idea of LGBTQ+ pride right now is ultimately down to Pro-Black, Pro-Trans action and this is never to be separated from the story of our lives.
To further support the work, go hire Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley!