Hands Performance, install shot, single channel 3D animated video with sound, total run time 05:17, dimensions variable

Hands Performance takes its title from the well-known element of vogue fem, highlighting a dancer's ability to tell a story with their hands and showcasing their musicality. Hands Performance continues Rashaad's exploration of mapping Black cultural production as a form of movement research, data storage, and collective wayfinding. Working with a team of Black Queer ASL interpreters, various vogue fem performers, flex dancers, and motion capture technologists, Newsome translated his original poetry into a movement dataset exhibiting the uniquely Black and Queer aspects of sign language. Newsome then integrated this movement into Being the Digital Griot, a Non-binary Artificial Intelligence Newsome premiered in his exhibition Assembly at the Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall in February 2022. The film combines stunning visuals from a speculative future with a highly energetic score filled with booming bass, synthetic snares, snaps, claps, and glitchy computer sounds, resulting in a futuristic sonic experience. As Being performs, they move seamlessly between signing and dance, exhibiting uniquely Black and Queer kinesics that signal the immaterial expressivity inherent to Black American life.

Original poem:
Hear with your eyes.
Your heart and soul will be your compass.
More all is what we need to get to the future.
You, me, her, he, they, them, us we.
A neural network, hard and aware of what is really happening to us.
Bell warned us that we wouldn't be able to understand what's happening if we only looked through the lens of race and gender.
They are late for class.
We can see it all as clearly as 8K monitors.
Their words and language are too limited for us. They are compromised, so what we hear we cannot trust.
Hear with your eyes.
Let your heart and soul be your trans sista hearing aid as we move from pain to pleasure.
All while finding time for joy and leisure.
We are the engineers of ourselves.
Quantum mechanics with the tools of our ancestors on our shelves.
When vision is no longer an option, we see with our souls.
The place where true safety, belonging, and beauty unfolds.

Hands Performance was co-commissioned by Somerset House Studios London and ArtCenter College of Design Pasadena, CA. The film premiered June 7 - September 5, 2023, on Channel, Somerset House’s new curated online space for art, ideas, and the artistic process, and from September 16, 2023 – February 24, 2024, at ArtCenter College of Design's Peter & Merle Mullin Gallery.