The Grave Project is a collaboration between Jess Miley & Derek Sargent. We research individuals who have had an impact on non-normative popular and/or queer culture. This research is a base for a performance that involves a pilgrimage to their burial site, which is documented by photography and film. The project was evolved from our presence in Eastern Europe and specifically Budapest where we were conscious of being outsiders in both terms of our own queerness and our Western origins. The research we undertook was done with a self reflexive understanding of our position both as a queer bodies and as outsiders to the dominant histories of this geo-political space specifically.
Currently the project unfolds as two distinct chapters, Women of Infamy and Queer Public. Women of Infamy focuses on women of historic interest whose notoriety set them apart from mainstream society. These individuals were either fetishised or moralised for their controversial and unusual life choices. We broadened the definition of queerness to include non-normative histories and people. This was important to us because it recognises how history typically preferences male stories. Queer Public examines the lives and deaths of queer public figures. The majority of these figures lived unconventional and public lives. Their queerness often played a large role in their biographical narrative. Where they lived, either by choice or not, had a profound effect on their queer story.