Club EXILE is a hybrid disco-chapel installation that celebrates diverse exile identities through social engagement and community driven content. An exile is an uprooted person who permanently leaves their homeland in response to force. Club EXILE looks beyond this definition to ask how marginalized peoples experience different forms of exile.
The installation resembles a shrine; it is filled with metallic fabric, mirror mosaics and multi-colored lights leading to an ornate jukebox. Visitors find a mosaiced bar with a countertop memorial holding 49 ceramic stars for the victims of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting. The wall is covered with flowers, dedicated photographs, postcards, and a blinking neon sign that announces EXILE. The jukebox houses mix CD contributions that communicate personal histories in response to the prompt: what 10 songs make you think of exile?
For me, Club EXILE began as a meditation on how to create a memorial to the 2016 Pulse Shooting in Orlando. The massacre was an attack on one of the most sacred places in the queer landscape: our dance floor. Any attempt to capture the spirit of Pulse would have to provide conditions where people gather to celebrate life.
Exile is a horizon, a liminal space that emphasizes a condition of otherness and displacement. Club EXILE empowers this void as a site of empathy and political promise. Exile always leads to new horizons, and these different futures are filled with the promise of a new way of life and seeing the world.
Photo by Osiris Cisneros