Encounter at Intergalactic Cafe

A new videotape of a live performance by Thomas Allen Harris

USA, 1996, 17 mins, color

Encounter at Intergalactic Cafe mixes African spirit possession with the Indigenous American sacred clown tradition to explore the electric juncture known as the crossroads.

In Encounter, saint, comic, demon, diety, infant and other entities emerge and literally take over the body of the artist. Three anthropologists are on hand with video camcorders to record their explosive arrival. Sparks fly as Harris gives this mythopoetic rendition of the original encounters between African, Indigenous, and European peoples at the San Diego/Tijuana border region, where it was first performed and documented.

Thomas Allen Harris is an award winning media artist and cultural warrior whose work explores desire, ambivalence and the construction of diasporic identity through a critical engagement of questions of blackness, sexuality and the body. His feature length documentary film, VINTAGE -- Families of Value, has garnered numerous awards and has been screened nationally and internationally. Harris' earlier film and video work includes Splash , Black Body, and Heaven, Earth and Hell.

Born in the Bronx, Harris spent his formative years in Tanzania, East Africa After attending Harvard University and graduating with a degree in Biology, Harris began his career in television, working for WNET/Thirteen--New York City's Public Television station, and producing award winning public affairs shows and documentaries.

Harris is currently an assistant professor in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Califomia, San Diego and is working on a new film to be shot in Salvador Da Bahia, Brazil.


Anthropologists/Videographers Walter Cameron, Rachel Mayeri, Wendell Kling

Sound Design Thomas Allen Harris

Lighting Design Eric Knutzen

Editor Kiera Lofgreen

Encounter at Intergalactic Cafe is a video documentation of a live performance that took place in 1996 at the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts at the University of California, San Diego.



Thomas Allen Harris Work