The Blue Description Project

Wed, July 17, 2024
6:30 pm

Floor 3, Theater

In celebration of Disability Pride Month, artists Liza Sylvestre and Christopher Jones present their elastic, experimental, and expansive Blue Description Project (BDP), created in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Hayden (Voices in the Gallery). The project reanimates a 1993 artwork by Derek Jarman through newly commissioned and expansive accessibility.  

Jarman’s Blue is an epoch-defining account of AIDS, illness, and the experience of disability in a culture of repressive heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness. Despite being referred to as a feature film, Blue never existed exclusively in one medium. It was screened in theaters, simulcast on television and radio, released as a CD, and published as a book, creating opportunities for many different kinds of sensory abilities—visual, aural, and textual—to experience the work. The Blue Description Project builds on the multifaceted nature of Jarman’s work through newly commissioned and expansive accessibility. Reflecting Blue’s standing as a foundational work of Crip art, the project challenges ableist hierarchies while focusing on the generative possibilities of difference and interdependence.  

Following the presentation of BDP, Sylvestre and Jones will speak about the project with 2024 Whitney Biennial artist Constantina Zavitsanos and Executive Director of Visual AIDS Kyle Croft.

The Blue Description Project is presented in English with open captions, captioned audio descriptions, and ASL interpretation. The conversation will have live CART captioning and ASL interpretation. 

Liza Sylvestre is a multimedia artist and research assistant professor within the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she co-founded the initiative Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts.  

Christopher Robert Jones is an artist and writer based in Illinois. Their research revolves around the “failure” or “malfunctioning” of the body and how those experiences are situated at points of intersection between Queer and Crip discourses. Jones is the co-founder of Crip*—Cripistemology and the Arts, a transdisciplinary initiative at the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where they are also a research assistant professor. 

Constantina Zavitsanos is an artist who works in sculpture, performance, text, and sound. Zavitsanos's work deals in the material re/production of debt, dependency, and means beyond measure. 

Kyle Croft is the Executive Director of Visual AIDS. 

Free with registration.


The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

ASL interpretation will be provided. 

Learn more about access services and programs.