What is Hot Cabinet?

Everyone keeps asking us: “What is Hot Cabinet?” And to be completely honest, we have not entirely reached what Hot Cabinet is destined to be. So here’s a recap of the history of Hot Cabinet and our dreams of the future.

2011: In June, using a family member’s television, Tiffany Joy Butler decided to screen the video compilation curated by Victoria Bradbury entitled “Was Here” in Beacon, New York at Tas Kafe, a local coffeehouse that is now closed but still sells delicious, fair trade coffee.

“Was Here” is the remnant of who and what was before. As a seance is an attempt to communicate with spirits, these artists use the medium of video to explore family histories, real and imagined.

In November, Tiffany Joy curated her own video compilation entitled Data Happy at Tas Kafe once again using a portable screen and a projector borrowed by Sai Corson at Updraft Studios.

Data Happy is the state of mind when technology infuses with the reality. The point of futuristic revelation affects the thoughts and body language of the infected.

2013: After living two years in Bushwick, Brooklyn and using a projector from NYPIRG, Tiffany Joy Butler decided to curate and screen a show called “Guilty Pleasures” at Center for Performance Research, an affordable & friendly performance & rehearsal space.

What if our inner desires came out as spirits in Mars, Venus or Jupiter? If these spirits exist in many different planets, perhaps parts of our self live beyond Earth – equally distributed amongst these gigantic stars. Guilty Pleasure delves into the meaning of “extraterrestrial” with videos that represent different aspects of desires, spirits and galaxial stories.

2014: Tiffany Joy Butler collaborated with Linda Paula Marcos (Braille Arts) in the Self Love Is Not Ego show which included an exhibition, performance art, music and a screening at Brooklyn Fireproof, another fantastic space for artists in Bushwick.

Our fundamental problems are our ignorance and ego-grasping. We grasp at our identity as being our personality, memories, opinions, judgments, hopes, fears, chattering away—all revolving around this me me me me. This creates the idea of an unchanging permanent self at the center of our being, which we have to satisfy and protect. This is an illusion.
—Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, “No Excuses”

2016: Tiffany Joy Butler curated a screening and facilitated a dialogue with participating artists (including Linda Paúla Marcos) & their families entitled Pelo Buena Pelo Mala at Immigrant Movement International, a community arts & activist space in Corona, Queens that is currently dealing with fear of displacement.

Deconstructing the narrative structure and power dynamics of cinema, as video artists and experimental filmmakers, we are creating our own mode of visual language. Video as an art form allows us to represent our truths and futures as black and brown folk.

2017: Devyn Mañibo joined Hot Cabinet and started to collaborate with Tiffany Joy Butler. In April, working together, they curated Have Your Own, a moving image potluck that asks video artists & filmmakers of the LGTBQI community to come & share their work in an opening, inviting space at Downtown Art, a theater space in the Lower East Side.

After displacement, we seek spaces and communities to call home – to hold and uplift our stories. Our forests may burn down, but our soil is only left more fertile.

In July, Hot Cabinet screened Set on Freedom, a video compilation of mostly Queens artists, as part of the Set on Freedom exhibition at Queens Museum in Flushing, New York. This was the first time Hot Cabinet screened in an actual theater.

…..the works presented in this exhibition and accompanying program series, Set on Freedom, were created during the artists’ work to foster an inclusionary and mutually-supportive artistic community. Acting as self-disciplined cultural organizers during this process, the exhibiting artists have explored their own representations of race, gender, sexuality, and love, de-centering whiteness and imagining radical systems of progress to uplift themselves as queer artists of color.

2021: Hot Cabinet will have existed for 10 years on this planet so we’re thinking of having a celebratory performance centric show. If you’re interested in what happens next and liked to offer your space & ideas, reach out to info@hotcabinet.net, we’d love to hear from you!