The Joy of Destruction


  • 21 April 2023
  • 00:00
  • —18 June 2023
  • 00:00

BACKLIT is delighted to present The Joy of Destruction, an exhibition exploring disruptions of oppressive power systems in gaming, world-building and simulation. The exhibition showcases avant-garde and Queer art practices and platforms work by local, national, and international artists: Rebecca Allen, Danielle Brathwaite-shirley, Uma Breakdown, Wingshan Smith, Robert Yang.

The exhibition is a reflection of BACKLIT’s foundations as an LGBTQ+ and female-led arts organisation and continues to build upon the relationship and commitment to its communities as a safe space for critical conversations.

The exhibition considers how the process of destruction can be a tool for creation and building new frameworks for the existence of disorder and openness. Digital simulation, explored in the exhibition, allows the artists to imagine alternative universes, where oppressive rules and systems are put into question.

A quote from Jazz Swali, co-curator:

“Finding joy in destruction seems counterintuitive on many levels. However, through the experimentation of building new worlds by resistance and exploration, artists are pushing the fringes of what identity, gaming and world-building is and are finding joy in the destruction of normative systems.

At a time when LGBTQ+ identities are being challenged on the highest levels, especially online, I think it is ever more important for us to take up physical space. This exhibition asks us to consider a more empathetic and inclusive future, where we can find joy in breaking heteronormative structures together, as viewers, gamers, and world-makers.

We wanted The Joy of Destruction to explore alternative ways of being and to deconstruct what otherness means through play and immersion.

The exhibition also asks us to consider how protest and resistance is often at the core of Queer and avant-garde creative practices.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all to The Joy of Destruction.”

BACKLIT gallery will be transformed into an immersive space filled with large-scale projections, playable games, and holograms. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of events, inviting visitors to find joy in destruction.

This exhibition is supported by Arts Council England, Nottingham Trent University, Confetti and LEADD:NG.

Curated by Matthew Chesney and Jazz Swali.

Exhibition Opening: 21 April, 6 – 9 pm

Exhibition Dates:
22 April – 18 June 2023
Friday – Sunday, 12 -5 pm.

NG3 1JG, Alfred House
Nottingham, UK

alt text should describe the image!
Rebecca Allen, The Observer (variation 2) 1999-2023. Courtesy of Rebecca Allen
alt text should describe the image!