A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.
Ale dresses as their drag persona, Celeste, wearing a high dark ponytail and short bangs.

Ále Campos



Ále Campos (b. Los Angeles, California) is a multidisciplinary artist and performer whose elastic studio practice is anchored by drag and their persona, Celeste. Their performances, often mediated by technologies (cameras, green screens, live-streams, projections), test the directions of the gaze and the scales of hyper-visibility, stretching the boundaries of the stage. Their live work naturally unfolds into sculpture, video and print-media at the hand of exploring ephemera and the after-life of performance. Drag is at once their material but also their scaffolding for performance making, guiding their efforts in returning to formative experiences re-constructing familial archives and cultural mythologies. Through this they strive to unearth intersectionalities through time whilst navigating a queer, future-thinking state of becoming. Their work harnesses the potential of melodrama, vulnerability and camp and vibrates between the traditions of performance and drag.

They received a BA from Bennington College (2016) and an MFA in Performance at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2022). Their work has been shown at the Hyde Park Arts Center, NO NATION, Comfort Station, Heaven Gallery, Ruschwoman, Jude Gallery, Roots & Culture, Elastic Arts (Chicago, IL), Lane Meyer Projects (Denver, CO), Collar Works (Troy, NY), September Gallery, The 405 Project (Hudson, NY), Kunsthalle Darmstadt (Germany), SS Gallerie (CDMX), BMOCA (Boulder, CO), Pamplemousse Gallery (Richmond, VA) They’ve attended ACRE Residency and are a recipient of the 2022 James Nelson Fellowship Award at SAIC and the City of Hudson’s Tourism Board Grant (2021). They are a current BOLT artist-in-residence at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition and were most recently named one of the ten New City 2023 Breakout Artists of Chicago.

They are an active, participating member of the drag and nightlife community in Chicago and are currently a resident performer / co-producer of Rumors, a monthly event that showcases some of the city’s premiere performers and DJ’s.


Title Department Catalog Term


This course will consider the ways in which performance practices can be queered - particularly through the lens of drag performance. While we will cover a selection of queer theory texts, a history of drag performance both in and out of the US, and consider contemporary examples of drag artists or artists employing drag in their work throughout the semester, students will not be expected to perform in drag (unless they so desire to!). Rather this course will encourage students to use drag as a conceptual and/or practical framework for thinking about and generating live performance work. We will think about the idea of the mask or the filter as a means for materializing personas or “altered/enhanced” states of performing, a “bodied” presence and playing with the gaze. We’ll explore how drag can encourage us to harness the anecdotal and moments of extreme intimacy, hypervisibility and vulnerability as well create distance and opacity. Image making, music/sound, text, movement and time will all be equal ingredients in our work. Drag is in constant mutation, always reflecting/confronting society and politicizing the body; this should encourage us to understand the ways in which we can hold up performance as a mirror to the world around us. Some examples of artists, groups and texts we will look at will include Sin Wai Kin, Glitch Feminism by Legacy Russell, The Chicago Black Drag Council, Zorroridrag, Pacha Queer, Drag: A British History, Joan Jett Blakk, Vaginal Davis, Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power, Linda Simpson’s Drag Explosion, Meredith Heller’s Queering Drag.

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