Flier courtesy of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.
Photo: Peter Ross

The Bottom Project (2000)

Julie Tolentino confronts the body politics of movement in The Bottom Project (2000). Tolentino’s eighteen performer cast explores the collective body in motion as an act of resistance against the backdrop of the AIDS pandemic. The performers engage the meaning of the word “bottom” as a precarious space through a non-linear narrative that encompasses movement, visuals, and sound. As evidenced in the performance, the bottom becomes a metaphorical space of exploration, a space of radical unbecoming, and a space free of social hierarchy. Furthermore, Tolentino employs a queer mestiza lens by drawing from her mixed-race identity to create a body positive movement style. This radical choreographic approach becomes a movement intervention on stage. Here, Tolentino’s cast forms a new set of body politics that confront the lack of intersectionality in the performance scene. The diverse performers collectively embody a fluid configuration of race, gender, and sexuality. Together the cast creates a space for building coalitions across communities, while also envisioning new ways of being queer in the world.

JULIE TOLENTINO is a performance artist, dancer/choreographer, and visual artist. Her art explores the intersections of queer sexual subcultures, Eastern healing practices, and HIV/AIDS cultural activism. Tolentino’s solo and collaborative works have been presented at The Kitchen, Invisible Exports, New Museum, Participant Inc., Performa, San Francisco Art Institute, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Commonwealth & Council, The Broad Museum, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, and Wexner Center, among other venues. She has worked on projects with Ron Athey, Candidate, Robert Crouch, Stosh Fila, Gran Fury, Diamanda Galás, Gerard & Kelly, Stanley Love, Lovett/Codagnone, Catherine Opie, David Rousseve, Madonna, Mark So, and Meg Stuart. Tolentino was a founding member of ACT UP New York’s House of Color Video Collective and the legendary Clit Club—a nightclub in New York City that promoted safe-sex for multiracial lesbians. She co-wrote the Lesbian AIDS Project’s Women’s Safer Sex Handbook, co-edited the TDR: The Drama Review’s Provocations section, and served as the editor of Guard Your Daughters: Clit Club 1990–2002 (forthcoming). Tolentino works in New York City and Joshua Tree, where she created a solar-powered live/work residency called FERAL House and Studio. www.julietolentino.com