Sex VariantsSex Variants (On Being Looked At)
Brody Weaver with voice acting from Bronwyn McGuiness and Excel Garay
Book, table, chairs, audio dome, vinyl, digital prints
Wall text excerpt (full wall text available here):
I want to tell you a story. But first, our characters...
Jan Gay, a lesbian feminist activist-researcher born in Germany of American parents, collected hundreds of case studies of lesbians living in Paris, London, New York, and Berlin with techniques she had from Magnus Hirschfeild in Berlin's Institute for Sexual Science.
Robert Latou Dickinson, a prominent American gynaecologist and leading figure behind the American birth control movement, believed that sexual pleasure was key to the maintenance of marriage and family and saw birth control as enabling these conditions. He viewed homosexuality as a form of arrested development and that through studying it, one can learn more about heterosexuality.
This audio-based participatory installation takes stock of a 1941 medical publication titled Sex Variants: A Study of Homosexual Patterns. Through telling the story of the book’s production, the work highlights the role of power and co-op- tion in the institutionaliza- tion of community-based knowledge. By having my dear transfemme friends read aloud the first per- son narrative of “research subjects,” we bring to the fore their bravery, hones- ty, and learned skills in navigating a world where sex deviating from the heterosexual norm was criminalised, despite their crystallisation in a printed text which sought to objectify them to the gaze of medicine and eugenics.
For the GirliesSecurity camera, digital prints, vinyl
This work presents reproduced material from the Casa Susanna archive, a collection of photographs taken by crossdressers and gender variant people at an upstate New York property in the 1960s. Bought at auction, the photographs were never intended for public consumption but have since become a published photobook and city-wide exhibition. Highlighting a photograph in which the women are all engaged in taking photographs of one another, while being documented in this act, a security camera is positioned towards the peep-hole entrance. The viewer is recorded and entered into this cyclical process of looking and being looked at.
Gaëtan Gaëtan GaëtanSecurity camera, digital prints, vinyl
This print-based installation traces the processes of knowledge production whereby a French-Canadian man, Gaëtan Dugas, became known in popular media as “Patient Zero” of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through reproducing four key texts that contributed to the popularisation of this belief, this work slows down the misappropriation of medical knowledge intended to isolate the virus for a multi-media avalanche which acted to criminalise promiscuity and shift the blame towards the sexual behaviour of a community rather than state neglect.
A Fragile ArchiveA Fragile Archive: The Activist Archive of Robin Metcalfe
.zip file, computer
A perpetually unfinished project, A Fragile Archive is one version of an installation of archival material from Robin Metcalfe’s community-based archive of queer liberation, resitance, and history, alongside transcriptions of a session of oral history the artist recorded with Metcalfe exist as a series of folders on a computer. Viewers are able to sift and sort through folders, images, and text files as a they trace historical moments and intergenerational connection. This approach to displaying and presenting access did not seek to make the material easy to interpret or narrativize; often, the screen was left scattered with a previous user’s session, a new user coming into a history halfway without knowing where it began. It required effort to make sense of what was presented, troubling the past as much as preserving it.
It Was My First LoveVinyl
Untitled (it was my first love) is an homage to a JPEG, that JPEG being Frank Ocean's "coming out" letter which was posted on Tumblr in 2011. The work is composed entirely of screenshots of phrases from the image, including “it was my first love”, “a language I did not yet speak”, and every “he” pronoun in the letter. It is installed in the common space of a washroom, more than one thousand times larger than the original pixel count.