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WPA & Eames Present: Kairos Dirt & the Errant Vacuum

Madsen Minax

Washington Project for the Arts & Eames Armstrong present Madsen Minax’s Kairos Dirt & the Errant Vacuum- an experimental queer fantasy. This screening is part of a double-feature focus on NY-based Minax; the second night is a show of short films and a conversation with the filmmaker that takes place at WPA on Saturday, March 9.


Through dreamscapes, television monitors, radio frequencies, and orifices a queer middle school lunch lady and a non-binary student discover a fantastic and carnal alternate dimension occupied by a genderless apparition.

Rosie Cutler, a middle school lunch lady and aspiring poet, and TJ Fortune, a mystical gender ambiguous student, have an unusual relationship. TJ neither fits within the framework of his age, nor gender, and because of this is both bullied and revered. He recoils into an abandoned warehouse where he builds a massive sculptural shrine from discarded objects and trash. Through a dream Rosie makes intimate contact with an otherworldly being who she hopes will bridge the gap between real and imagined to reveal truths about our world. Amid the post-industrial decay of the American south, a disparate band of nobodies including fellow lunch ladies, a mystical mortician, a transgender elder, a ministry worker, and a lesbian hospice provider all encounter the otherworldly being, known only as Kairos Dirt, who occupies another dimension of existence. A spiritual medium/ phone sex operator is called upon to help transport these nobodies into this alternate dimension. Television monitors, radio frequencies, dreams and orifices all become portals to access this alternate, carnal dimension. The characters must ask ‘what is dream? what is reality? what must we give up to become something else?’

Through a magical realist approach, Kairos Dirt unfolds between a waking reality and a series of dream-space sequences. These sequences use digital manipulation, raucous ruptures in editing and sound, and numerous in camera experiments including multi-screen projection, green screen, and cloud tanks. As the film progresses visual elements of the dream sequences integrate into the waking sequences, as the two worlds merge. Performances reflect the lineage of Cult Classics, Midnight Movies, and the New Queer Cinema movement, drawing on the history of camp, physical theatre, clowning, drag and Brechtian acting.

The project is concerned with the nuances of human relationality, how we negotiate friendship, intimacy, and community-building in the world, as well as larger concerns regarding the relationship between death and sexuality, growth and transformation. From the oddly timeless exteriors of Memphis, TN to the meager interiors of Rosie’s apartment, stockpiled with six tube televisions of varying sizes and eras to form a pyramid of flickering screens, the anachronism of both time and place is persistent throughout the film. Characters interact with technologies that span from the 1950s until now as they negotiate a post-industrial society in flux, and ultimately seek alternate modes of human connectivity.


  • 3/7 | 8:00PM
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