QD (1), 2020
Queer Dimensionalities explores the possibilities of what it might look like if I took a chance to author myself in the terms of my own deeply personal vision. As a queer person, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be seen in culturally mainstream ways, while being largely imperceptible at the same time. As an artist that explores the interwoven technologies of identity and photography, I often wonder how much can be understood about a person from looking at a photograph of that person. I am interested in the limitations and possibilities of photography, and how an image has the power to stage complex situations of self. Departing from figurative representation, this project considers how queerness might be represented in textural, spatial, and atmospheric ways.
Much of my thought process for this project took place on walks around my neighborhood in rural Kansas. During these walks I took lots of pictures of the subjects I encountered most: grass, flowers, water, sidewalks, stones, a mural with a rainbow ending in the sea, and my shadow. I was particularly interested in how my shadow related to my surroundings while not being an integral part of them. Given my interest in cultural legibility, figurative representation, and imperceptibility, I wondered what it might look like if my shadow was digitally obscured in the images. I chose to edit the photos using Photoshop’s magic wand tool and content-aware fill. The magic wand tool makes very rough selections of the chosen areas, while content-aware fill fills in those areas with visual information from elsewhere in the image.
The resulting images traverse the borderline of visibility and imperceptibility while blending the everyday imagery from my walks with digital artifact and intervention. Through the obfuscation of my shadow, the subject becomes the sensuous-yet-artificial representation of textures, spaces, and atmospheres. Some are subtle and slow to unravel. Others are more extreme, presenting like caustic tapestries of digital echoes that almost break with the photographic event. In departing from a figurative frame-of-reference, these images adapt queerness as a multi-dimensional way of perceiving orientations that are difficult to depict through normative cultural frames.