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Queer Lives

"Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing." -- José Esteban Muñoz, Cruising Utopia (2009)

"God Mend Thy Every Flaw ..."

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 17 in. x 24 in. Material courtesy of Kiam Marcelo Junio From American Karaoke

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

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  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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"Land Where My Fathers Died ..."

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 17 in. x 24 in. Material courtesy of Kiam Marcelo Junio From American Karaoke

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

location

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  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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"Rockets Red Glare ..."

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 17 in. x 24 in. Material courtesy of Kiam Marcelo Junio from American Karaoke

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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"This Land Was Made for You and Me ..."

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 17 in. x 24 in. Material courtesy of Kiam Marcelo Junio From American Karaoke

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
image description
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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2 of heARTs (scissor sisters)

Việt Lê

2016 C-print Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist

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Việt Lê

b. 1976

Việt Lê is an artist, writer, and curator. Lê is an assistant professor in Visual Studies at the California College of the Arts (San Francisco|Oakland). He has been published in positions: asia critique; Crab Orchard Review; American Quarterly; Amerasia Journal; Art Journal; and the anthologies Writing from the Perfume River (2010), Strange Cargo (2010), The Spaces Between Us (2010), Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art (2012), among others.

Recent solo exhibitions include lovebang! (Kellogg University Art Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016), vestige (H Gallery Bangkok, 2015), and tan nÁRT cõi lòng | heARTbreak! (Nhà Sàn Collective, Hà Nội). Lê has presented his work at The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada; University of California-Los Angeles Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; DoBaeBacSa Gallery, Seoul, Korea; Japan Foundation, Việt Nam; 1a Space, Hong Kong; Bangkok Art & Cultural Center (BACC), Thailand; Civitella Ranieri, Italy; Shanghai Biennale, China; Rio Gay Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; among other venues.

Lê curated Miss Saigon with the Wind (Highways, Santa Monica, 2005) and Charlie Don’t Surf! (Centre A, Vancouver, BC, 2005). He co-curated humor us (with Leta Ming and Yong Soon Min; Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, LA, CA, 2008), transPOP: Korea Việt Nam Remix (with Yong Soon Min; Seoul, Sài Gòn, Irvine, San Francisco, 2008-09), the 2012 Taipei Kuandu Biennale and Love in the Time of War (University of California, Santa Barbara and SF Camerawork). He co-organized the 2015 Artistic Interventions conference (Ph.D. workshops and symposium) in Hong Kong. Lê's projects have been featured in Newsweek Asia, The Korea Herald, The Toronto Star, Huffington Post, China Daily, Orange County Register, Bangkok Post, and The Cambodia Daily.

Lê received his M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine, where he has also taught Studio Art and Visual Culture courses. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (Department of American Studies & Ethnicity). His writing has been translated into Chinese, German, Khmer, and Vietnamese.

The heARTbreak! 2016 sexperimental video (the teaser featured here) is the outgrowth of Việt Lê’s 2014 solo exhibition at H Project Space, Bangkok, comprised of three related interventions based on the 125 year-old building’s former life as a colonial-era Christian orphanage. Queerying time and space, the inter-related projects/ interventions reference the former orphange site, recent protests, as well as Southeast Asian refugee camps in Thailand (2015 was the 40th anniversary of the military engagements in Southeast Asia).

In a durational performance (24-29 December, 2014), the artist “occupied” H Project Space, conducted research, as well as embodied the historic figure of a lovelorn orphan who once lived in the building. During the meditative performance, Lê strung together beads—religious and otherwise—to form (with the assistance of community volunteers) another “curtain” to be hung up inside the space. Dealing with longing and loss, desire and despair, the works reference Felix Gonzales Torres’ mournful installations of curtains (Untitled [Blue Curtains], 1989/9) and beads (Untitled [Golden], 1995) as well as Lawrence Chua’s “sinsational” novel Gold by the Inch.

The artist invited the public to donate beads as well as to string together these beads with him. Using the keywords of refuge, refuse and refusal, the project also invites the public to come interact with the artist and create altars for loved ones or bring simple offerings—objects, drawings, gestures. Set to coincide with the Christmas holiday season, Lê examines the history of Christianity (among other spiritual practices) in Thailand, including H Gallery’s history as a former orphanage and the untimely death of the orphan.

Lastly, within the space, Lê aims to stage the second installment of his LOVE BANG! (a “faux phở-real”) music video trilogy. heART/break! is a sexperimental art music video for an original multi-lingual “hip pop” song (Vietnamese, Thai, Khmer and English). Featuring time-traveling, star-crossed figures (orphans, refugees), the video interweaves the past and the present. The new song pays tongue-in-cheek homage to Thai and Vietnamese tunes as well as Western pop songs, which are ever-present on the streets of Southeast Asia.

These strings of associations (pun intended) are a metaphorical means to look at the layered, traumatized topographies of Southeast Asian identities. The artist explores the divides—and connections—between spirituality and sexuality, the physical and the metaphysical.

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  • Born: Sài Gòn
  • Based:

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American Karaoke

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 Video of performance Duration: 12m 27s Material courtesy of artist

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

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Anonymous Front

Gina Osterloh

2010 Archival pigment print with UV laminate, mounted on dibond, with white frame Material courtesy of Gina Osterloh and François Ghebaly From Copy Flat series

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Gina Osterloh

b. 1973

Gina Osterloh is a Los Angeles-based artist whose practice embodies photography, film, performance, and drawing as a site for questions of visibility, perception, and being. Osterloh cites her experience of growing up mixed-race in Ohio as a set of formative experiences that led her to photography and larger questions of how a viewer perceives difference.  Her 2012 exhibition Anonymous Front, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, featured a documentary video essay on physical blindness, perception, and identity, created with the blind massage therapist cooperative in Manila, Philippines called New Vision. The foundations for this documentary project with New Vision was made possible by a Fulbright Research Grant in 2008. Other exhibitions include solo exhibitions Gina Osterloh at Higher Pictures; Slice, Strike, Make an X, Prick! at François Ghebaly Gallery; Nothing to See Here There Never Was at Silverlens Gallery; and group exhibitions Energy Charge: Connecting to Ana Mendieta at Arizona State University Museum, This is Not America: Resistance, Protest and Poetics at Arizona State University Museum, Demolition Women at the Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University. Osterloh has exhibited internationally in places such as Hong Kong, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Indonesia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Her work has been reviewed in The New Yorker Magazine, Art in America, Art Forum Critic’s Pick, Hyphen Magazine, Art Asia Pacific, Asian Art News, Giant Robot, and KCET Artbound, among others.

 

Osterloh has taught courses and workshops in photography, video, and performance art at the University of California San Diego, CalArts, Otterbien University, California State University of Fullerton and Long Beach, and Santa Ana College to name a few.

location

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  • Born: Texas, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Also Based in: Ohio, USA

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Art Must Be Beautiful

Kiam Marcelo Junio

2013 Video of performance Duration: 1h 18m 19s Material courtesy of artist

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Kiam Marcelo Junio

b. 1984
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Kiam Marcelo Junio is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist working across media, from dance and performance to sculpture, installation, photography, and writing. Their research and art work center around queer identity, Philippine history and the Filipino diaspora, Western imperialism, and personal and collective healing through collaborative projects and individual self-work. Kiam served seven years in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. Their work has been exhibited, screened, and performed throughout Chicago at Boyfriends, Defibrillator, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Bijou Theater, and the Field Museum, as well as in New York City, NY; Riverside, CA; Mexico City, Mexico; Cadiz, Spain; and Montreal, Canada. They were born in the Philippines and have lived in the US, Japan, and Spain.

The role of the artist, the magician, the prophet, and each individual, is to bring about change in the world through one's own personal transformations, revolutions, and revelations.

As an artist who is also a person of color, an Asian American, a Filipino immigrant, a US Navy veteran, gender-fluid, and decidedly queer, my work exists within these contexts but is not bound by them. I use a multidisciplinary approach in my research and art making. I develop a conceptual ecosystem in which my works function in myriad ways, informing one another. I create photos, installations, videos, and performances. I work collaboratively with local artists, dancers, musicians, and organizers. I foster relationships within my communities and relish in our blossoming. By working with others, we come to know and become more ourselves.

I look towards the future and feel its inertia - the momentum that propels us into infinite uncharted moments, carrying the past forward

location

X
  • Born: Quezon City, Philippines
  • Based: Chicago, IL, USA

comments

X

Bruise Points and Infinite Pricks

Gina Osterloh

2010 Archival pigment print with UV laminate, mounted on dibond, with white frame Material courtesy of Gina Osterloh and François Ghebaly From the Copy Flat series

contributor

X

Gina Osterloh

b. 1973

Gina Osterloh is a Los Angeles-based artist whose practice embodies photography, film, performance, and drawing as a site for questions of visibility, perception, and being. Osterloh cites her experience of growing up mixed-race in Ohio as a set of formative experiences that led her to photography and larger questions of how a viewer perceives difference.  Her 2012 exhibition Anonymous Front, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, featured a documentary video essay on physical blindness, perception, and identity, created with the blind massage therapist cooperative in Manila, Philippines called New Vision. The foundations for this documentary project with New Vision was made possible by a Fulbright Research Grant in 2008. Other exhibitions include solo exhibitions Gina Osterloh at Higher Pictures; Slice, Strike, Make an X, Prick! at François Ghebaly Gallery; Nothing to See Here There Never Was at Silverlens Gallery; and group exhibitions Energy Charge: Connecting to Ana Mendieta at Arizona State University Museum, This is Not America: Resistance, Protest and Poetics at Arizona State University Museum, Demolition Women at the Guggenheim Gallery at Chapman University. Osterloh has exhibited internationally in places such as Hong Kong, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Indonesia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Her work has been reviewed in The New Yorker Magazine, Art in America, Art Forum Critic’s Pick, Hyphen Magazine, Art Asia Pacific, Asian Art News, Giant Robot, and KCET Artbound, among others.

 

Osterloh has taught courses and workshops in photography, video, and performance art at the University of California San Diego, CalArts, Otterbien University, California State University of Fullerton and Long Beach, and Santa Ana College to name a few.

location

X
  • Born: Texas, USA
  • Based: Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Also Based in: Ohio, USA

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Confessional

Jeffrey Augustine Songco

2014 Digital print 30 in. x 12.5 in. CA+T Commissioned Work

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Jeffrey Augustine Songco

b. 1983
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Jeffrey Augustine Songco is a multi-media artist. Born and raised in New Jersey, USA, to immigrant Filipino parents, his artistic identity developed at a young age with training in classical ballet, voice, and musical theater. Today, he uses these disciplines in the performing arts to produce stories as works of visual art. He holds a B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.F.A. from San Francisco Art Institute. He has exhibited throughout the United States, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids. His writings have appeared in Art21 Blog, Bad at Sports, The Huffington Post, and Hyperallergic. He would like to be the US representative to the 2023 Venice Biennale. He currently lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My obsessive consumption of superficial goods translates into the production of peculiar appropriation. There’s a lot of stuff out there to play with — things (as objects) and ideas (as language) are my materials. I'm interested in physical behavior, emotional narratives, and performed identities. I believe my artwork produces an infectious feeling of anxiety that can only be alleviated by a) the acceptance of the fluidity of meaning, 2) the impossibility of fully comprehending the absurd, and d) the inability to control your own laughter.

As the commissioned artist for the Center for Art and Thought’s exhibition Queer Sites and Sounds, I created a limited edition digital print titled Confessional. This work is the third iteration in a series of photographic prints depicting my “bag head character” juxtaposed with text from a grand narrative.

In 2012, I wrote my first screenplay titled The Host. The title refers to the protagonist – a white, affluent, suburban mom who is the beloved host on a popular home-shopping television network. The title also refers to the bread that is transformed into the body of Christ and eaten during Catholic mass. Throughout the film, the woman is negotiating her identity as a devout Catholic woman and as a mom to her recently outed college-aged son. In front of a million television viewers, she goes through her own transformation, performing a role that caters to a culturally conservative America, while knowing full well that her gay son is quietly shifting her away from those values. When I wrote the screenplay, I was just a writer with a dream, but I was also an artist with a camera. I created the triptych Hosanna as a way to visually manifest the text of The Host. In Hosanna, quotations from The Host flank the solitary white figure that is performing the role of the host. “Hosanna” is a biblical word that is shouted to express joy and adoration – an old-timer word for “OMG” or a phrase a woman might say when she sees sparkling jewelry.

By dressing in all white and placing a bag on my head, I enact a queer performance of the protagonist – a beautiful and empowered heterosexual white woman with personal anxiety that looms around her as she fulfills her own performance of self. This same concept can be used with the next iteration in the series, the diptych God Bless (Miss) America. I didn’t write a screenplay, but I’ve always been transfixed by pageantry – count me in as part of the demographic obsessed with TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras who can also tell the difference between the Miss America and Miss USA pageants. The narrative of beauty pageants is so common in American popular culture that it has become a cliché, so I chose to use a clichéd question as the text within the artwork. In front of millions of television viewers, a pageant contestant must answer a seemingly bleak question with something that caters to the pageant judges and, ultimately, the identity of the nation.

I’m currently in the process of writing a screenplay titled The Cast, a dramatic film that focuses on a cast member of a reality television show about five affluent white married women living in San Francisco. Queer Sites and Sounds is the perfect site to visually translate the text of The Cast like I had done with The Host. My new artwork is titled Confessional, which refers to the idea of the Catholic Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Sharing and confessing sins to a priest in a small room allows the sinner to be absolved from mortal sins and avoid Hell. Decades ago, the word “confessional” was introduced to reality television when subjects of the show were taken aside from the main activity into a small room, and asked to share and confess how they felt about the events that just occurred. Subjects broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to the camera to share all their feelings and provide a proper narrative to the plot. The confessional has aesthetically evolved into what it is today, with the confessional interview being highly stylized and elaborately produced. Bravo Television’s The Real Housewives series provides fantastic examples of stylized confessionals, with characters confessing in front of luxurious backgrounds.

I’ve always had an interest in – some would say obsession with – white people. While I shine the spotlight on an American ideal, I don’t deny the multiple references to a darker side of white America: Christian extremism, political nationalism, military torture, and white supremacy. In Confessional, I chose to display a quotation that revealed a dramatic side of the reality show – adultery. This kind of saturated American identity is the root of my bag head character, which ultimately plays the role of an anonymous white person subject to the projections of any given story.

location

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  • Born: New Jersey, USA
  • Based: Grand Rapids, MI

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