4/27/10

The Queer Voice

I was asked a few weeks ago to contribute text to the exhibition catalog of this really cool art show at UPenn's Institute of Contemporary Art. If you're in Philadelphia, check it out!

Queer Voice

April 22 - August 1, 2010

Presenting video, installation, and audio works, this group exhibition foregrounds the voice as a material in contemporary art—in particular, a queered voice. Manipulated, mediated, or otherwise affected, the voice present in these works both signals a disengagement with gender norms and with everyday conventions of communication. Casting light on what it means to "sound strange," they insist that the viewer become a listener too, engaging with art works that are performative and narrative in nature. Throughout the voice takes on a complex of guises and strategies: it can mask the speaker, tweak identity, obscure gender, test points of view, amplify and nullify emotions. It may create a disembodied or virtual presence, filling the listening space with avatars and mediums, the very presence of which signal a shift in the nature of reality itself. The queer voice opens up a queer space where a heightened sense of artifice and affect signal a new norm. Artists: Laurie Anderson, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn, Sharon Hayes, John Kelly, Kalup Linzy, Jack Smith, Ryan Trecartin and Andy Warhol.

I am very honored to have been asked to contribute, and I can't wait to see the catalog. We were asked to respond to the question: "What is the Queer Voice?" and this is part of my response:
We’re told to restrain our impulses, thoughts, feelings and voices. This means, also, that we’re taught to notice them. Our pleasure is by nature illicit. We are trained to cum silently or else in code. We can recontextualize our message, though. Change our minds halfway through a sentence. Find new holes in new bodies. Heal wounds.
Good news.

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