Multimedia installation. Commercially produced stickers, found furniture, acrylic paint marker.
Every morning presents a new opportunity to choose how to present myself to the world. Even though I identify as cis(ish), gender presentation has always been a challenge for me. I love feeling pretty but I also yearn to be clearly identified as queer: as a sign of belonging by other queer folks and as a signal to my difference from straight people. I frequently feel as if there is a set of scales in my head that need to be balanced. Something masculine must be met with something equally femme so that I don’t come down solidly on either side. Some mornings, this exercise feels empowering. On others, it feels like a chore.
Participants in this work are encouraged to choose a sticker and place it on a location in the grid they feel best represents themselves at that moment.
The “femme” and “masc” axis may feel obvious as this negotiation is ever present no matter how one identifies. The “yes” and “no” are a bit more subjective. Pangender / agender? Yes, I subscribe to gender / no thanks, that’s not for me? Yes I feel like playing the game today / no I don’t? I leave the interpretation up to you. As more people engage with the work, the graph becomes a representation of a self-selecting, self-identifying group.
In Know Thyself, the stickers metamorphose into absurd and anonymous avatars and symbols of fleeting commitment. Like a “label,” stickers feel permanent but they aren’t, especially on the wall of a gallery that changes exhibitions weekly. Embracing the futility of false commitment can, I hope, be a refreshing reminder of the temporality of identity. Who’s to say you can’t come back and reselect and re-stick tomorrow? The next day? And the next?