It's production week; classes are over and it's the somewhat frantic final push before the showcase this weekend. My project has been through some morphings since it's initial conception to say the least.
After some feedback about the needles I was getting the sense that what I was feeling about them wasn't coming across. Alden very helpfully worked through this concept map and sort of material affordances map with me, and it seemed like maybe the thing to do was make the needles actually more playful than I originally wanted. Because I'm so used to the needles it's hard for me to get a good grasp of how other people react to them, and Alden suggested that it's actually disconcerting to see these "scary" sharp things doing cute little tasks like watering a plant or knitting. That that would be a better way to exploit the gap between how they're everyday for me but not for most people.
That concept went over pretty well, but the way people suggested changes made it feel like a materials gimmick, not something thoughtful. I just couldn't quite sell it to myself and I'd rather not futz with servo motors if I'm not really sure about talking to folks about the final thing. There's people out there making boring ~edgy~ art with needles and I didn't feel like just saying these were my needles saved the project from becoming that. I do want to come back to the idea and I still of course have all the needles; I think I just need to get a better grasp of what I'm trying to express about the medicalization of transness, about process, about time. Or maybe I'm just not in the right mood for this tone right now, y'know?
Conveniently I had an idea on the back-burner. Especially with the recent SESTA/FOSTA bs I was thinking about how ephemeral online spaces can be, how very regulated they are. Something about Grindr sharing HIV data and perilous visibility. Many folks have come to their understanding of their gender/sexuality through the internet in a way that's extremely local in time, increasingly less in space. Identity always is localized but how are we holding on to the artifacts; the modern snippets of Sappho's poetry, the daguerreotypes of bygone gender benders. Even the Internet Archive is on the internet. After the Ethics and Archiving the Web conference I've also been thinking about archives and what goes in them, what doesn't, how it's tagged. One presenter talked about the phasing out of Geocities and I started thinking about the panic around when Yahoo bought Tumblr. Out of this general thought soup I thought, "what if I make tracings of websites foundational to people's experience with gender/sexuality?"
I like that the tracing defamiliarizes the page & has a sort of "museum effect." I've been asking people for their website recollections and it's funny because it's a personal question but of course these sites are frequently large and public. Some you might have interacted with—like deviantArt or Facebook—others you might not have heard of until now—like Susan's Place or Furry Paws. Sometimes it's more specific like a particular music video or artist, I want to leave my request very open ended to include all these odds and ends that particularly underrepresented identities come to. But everyone's sexuality is regulated so I should probably find like the most popular video on PornHub or something too. (I'm not specifically hunting down positive influences, but mostly that's what people have been offering) I also want to generate some sort of metadata/pseudo filing system to go with them, however many I end up with.
So that's thaaat. Still sort of a concept blob but I'm content with the objects themselves and the general conversations that have been coming out. Also as someone that wants to work mostly with illustration it makes a kind of sense to showcase that to potential collaborators. Inking them is quite time consuming but hey 3.5 days till showcase! NYC come see!