Future Folk: Superbia

Jessye McDowell + Kelli Shay Hix

Exhibition Dates
December 9, 2023 – January 31, 2024
Opens Saturday December 9, 2023, with an Artist Reception from 5-8pm

Unrequited Leisure is excited to announce our upcoming exhibition, Future Folk: Superbia. This collaborative installation features images & animation from Jessye McDowell’s Superbia series, which draws connections between the historical era of European colonialism and our contemporary exploration and expansion of virtual worlds. Conceptualized as a series of sacred vessels of the metaverse, the images are both seductive and tongue-in-cheek, imagining ceremonial objects composed of consumer electronics, baroque decoration, and a symbolic language drawn from online life. The vessels suggest use in rituals that might evolve out of current technological events, which are further elaborated with augmented reality (AR) animations. The accompanying auditory installation by Kelli Shay Hix augers the future of folk music.


Jessye McDowell is an artist and educator whose studio practice centers on cultural narratives surrounding technology. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., including solo shows at Sonoma State University, the Thomas Hunter Project Space at Hunter College (NYC), and Murray State University (Murray, KY). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at Lump Gallery (Raleigh, NC), Well Well Projects (Portland, OR), the SPRING/BREAK Art Fair (NYC), Essex Flowers Gallery (NYC), Detroit Artist Market, the DUMBO Arts Festival (Brooklyn, NY), Mint Gallery (Atlanta, GA), and the Front Gallery (New Orleans, LA). She has attended artist residencies at the Wassaic Artist Residency (Wassaic, NY); the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT); Harold Arts (Chesterfield, OH); and the Acre Artist Residency (Steuben, WI). McDowell received an MA in Media Studies from the New School University in NYC, and an MFA from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She served as the President of the New Media Caucus from 2020-2023 and is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Art & Animation at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She lives in Baltimore.

Kelli Shay Hix is a time-based media archivist, organizational consultant, and artist. She is Co-Director of Preservation at BAVC Media and a core member of the Community Archiving Workshop. From 2015-2019 she designed and led the Audiovisual Preservation Readiness Assessment project at the Smithsonian Institution, the most comprehensive assessment of audiovisual collections at the largest collection of museums in the world. That project led to the development of the Audiovisual Media Preservation Initiative, the first pan-institutional audiovisual preservation project at the Smithsonian. She is the founder and curator of the Nashville Archives Artist in Residence Program and the Kurdish Immigrant Home Movie Preservation Project. Kelli’s film, photography, and light + sound installations have shown at the Library of Congress Mary Pickford Theater; Third Man Records Blue Room; and the BFI International Film Fest. Her self-designed home, Flatrock House, was featured in Dwell Magazine and named one of their ten best budget designs of 2022. She is itinerant and currently based in Belgrade, Serbia.


Unrequited Leisure is an artist-run project space in Nashville, Tennessee that focuses on emerging and mid-career artists that explore screen-based approaches to critical and topical investigations. Exhibitions in the gallery are programmed, curated, and organized by Chalet Comellas-Baker and Clinton Sleeper and all artists presented are selected through a thematic curatorial framework.

Location: 507 Hagan Street Studio C, Nashville, TN, 37203

Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 11-5 pm
First Saturdays of the month we participate in the Wedgewood Houston Art Crawl and remain open from 5-8pm. In addition to these hours, we are open by appointment and on selected special TBA dates during the month.

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