I use culturally “classed” materials to create 2-D and performative work that explores how we might be programming our future in relationship to systems of marginalization. I am concerned specifically with the futuristic femme myth as it applies to queer and of color communities. I see my work as a series of visual experiments testing out the possible outcomes in two main areas of inquiry: 1. how can we create culturally recognizable images which depict marginalized people in positions of power without referencing the cannon of European Art History, and, 2. how can we apply the “voice of authority” typically used to catalog history in favor of the male European perspective, and apply it to an imagined futuristic mythology of ourselves.
In this sense, my practice has two equally important components- the process of making, and the process of naming; to absorb and then to observe. My process of making is both an act of pleasure and an act of survival; a diversion from internal critique and simultaneous declaration of existence. My process of naming is equally performative in the sense that I assign myself to an imagined position of global pundit on all things queer, feminine, Puerto Rican, American, Afro-Diaspora, futuristic, mixed, and alchemical. For me, the act of naming is an act of transmutation. It is assigning a meaning that may or may not be accurate and thereby changing how it is perceived, making it acceptable or unacceptable depending on the origin of its perception.
I began these specific inquiries during my time at the New York Studio Residency Program. There, I started a series of somewhat “traditionally” rendered portraits of queer femmes of color, but with two stipulations: they were to be made with classed materials such as paper, watercolor, glitter, etc. and they were to be experiments in symbols of power- rather than elevated by horses and swords, these subjects were to be accompanied by dinosaurs, pugs, and staffs. They were also created large enough to be considered monumental. Out of these experiments came the realization that while I had set out to understand a visual language of power outside of the European cannon of art, I was completely involved with a classically Greek language of rendering in terms of rules concerning space, perspective, and ratio. Along with Battlestar Galactica and Donna Haraway’s The Cyborg Manifesto, this realization was a catalyst for concern around how we are unconsciously programming our futures. In the sense that what we do today creates how we experience tomorrow, I began with a new experiment by using the “voice of authority” to officiate an anthropological dig into a mythological femme future. While keeping with the elements of culturally classed materials and monumental scale, my work is performing an archive of potential future findings that assert the magical and paranormal as an indisputable truth.
I call my works experiments because I don’t see them as conclusive or original. I am acutely aware that whatever I make is in constant dialogue with what has been made before, and see my practice as a continuation of variables that are in persistent rotation to produce unending results. I experiment so that I may allow myself the freedom to change my mind, to be pushed into new ways of thinking, making, and naming. I am interested in using the future as a site of experimentation, as well as a space to gain freedom and visibility around the conversations of race, gender, sexuality, and class. I see this making a kind of sympathetic magic. Not because it calls into being that which is rendered, but because it calls into question that which has already been, and dreams up that which could be.