SWITCH + SLEEPOVER (MFA THESIS)
A disparate investigation of the queer sexual logic of the switch and its implications about the mutability of power relations in various contexts—relational, infrastructural, institutional.
Includes MFA thesis installation Sleepover.
Thesis performance text. May 13, 2016 - Sullivan Galleries, Chicago IL:
Sit on floor
This installation is called Sleepover. It is built on many stories, one of which I will share. But first I want you to think about the translation from drawing to object, which is actually a translation from fantasy to reality.
Draw image of Sol LeWitt’s sculpture One-Two-One with Two half-Off
The image has been burned into my brain with shame ever since I tried to walk through it at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Here is how I remember it.
I recently learned that its actually a Sol LeWitt sculpture called ‘one two one with two half off’.
Here is what it looks like.
Place print out of actual image on floor
LeWitt gifted the piece in 1992, and I stepped inside of it shortly after, when I was 6 or 7 years old. I remember looking at it first. It looked giant and empty and inviting. Like it wanted to be entered and filled. My father’s back was turned or he didn’t care. He was always fucking up too, like the time he got yelled at for touching a bunch of pastries at Au Bon Pain in Somerville MA. He was just trying to make a more informed selection. Anyways I stepped into the left cube and began walking toward the central cube. The guard standing in the doorway yelled “get out of there right now! RIGHT NOW!” He seemed really upset. I thought about it everyday for months afterwards, especially when I was going to bed. I felt so crass, so childish, so guilty.
Sit and lean on fan bench
Twenty two years later, May of of 2015. I was beginning to make work around the queer sexual logic of the switch and its implications about the mutability of power relations in various contexts—relational of course, but also infrastructural, institutional. I was imagining four televisions broadcasting CNN, NBC, FOX, and PBS smashing together to form an olympic stanchion with a one-two-one with one half off silhouette.
Climb on top of fan bench
The object would be climbed on in order to model a physical experience of switching positions in the context of an already-established hierarchy. The fan would provide an extra-sensual experience of relief, and perhaps envy from those who could not feel the wind. Four TVs pushing together and becoming one static object to climb on.
Sit on other side
But it actually became more important as an object to draw on. News as static, and static decorating life, the fucked up world, the looming shit I can’t get around but sometimes try to ignore, overabundance, repetition, simulation, labor, drawing and depiction as emotional labor, explaining everything, explaining oneself, exhaustion, background noise, background image.
Sit on floor
Static as waves. Water waves and wind waves getting captured and bound up in these situations, literally as energy used to power TV stations and the factories and the art market etc etc etc.
When I was finished, I wanted to make an object that would allow for less capture and more passage.
Go sit near brick piece
Something to draw in, instead of on. But also a structure more open to penetration and perhaps infiltration.
Put arm through piece
An open and transparent bottom, supporting a dense and fixed non-negotiable top. I started printing out images of brutalist architecture from pinterest and pinning them to the wall of my studio.
Put image on floor
This image was taken in Podgorica, Montenegro and posted by Paul McClure in 2014. Its only caption is #socialism #brutalism #architecture. This image is holding the logic of the switch in the structure of the building, and its relationship with this tree. So I made this object as a negotiation between that object [fan bench] and this image.
Move under broom
Then I made this. This object is based on a sketch I made for album art for Lezurrexion, which is the band I’m in. We have been together for six years. We write every song together and we switch instruments all the time. Most of us have been in love with most of us at some point, and we are often really angry or disappointed with each other. One of us has a kid, two of us are really broke, one of us is sometimes broke, and one of us has money. We lose equipment all the time and we really need to finish our album. Lezurrexion is probably the best thing about my 20s. And to get even more romantic but also very real, lezurrexion probably saved my life.
I think that this broom is the most optimistic but also pragmatic thing in this space. It is my way out but also my way back in. So perhaps another way to talk about this installation is to ask about the viability of a feminism based in sex and magic when it enters the world.