My art practice is primarily research + writing first, then physical creation. Essays are an important part of that process, and here is a list of them.
“Biopower is used to create and justify this normative biopolitical genocide in essentially every Western state. In neoliberal and colonial societies like Aotearoa, the indigenous population is, more often than not, part of the Other that threatens the privileged population, and the violence against them that both kills and lets them die comes in the form of incarceration rates, low access to healthcare, and institutionalised racism.”
“I was hoping I was going to kill myself before people found out then… nobody would have known that I was going to. I didn’t want to embarrass my family, which is what I thought would happen when people found out I was gay – if they found out I was gay. But I never ever thought I was going to get to the stage where I am now. I never knew that it was possible to live and be happy as a gay person. And as soon as I realised that I was a gay person it seemed completely impossible to be happy.” (‘Andy’, cited in Town, 1999, p. 135)
Contemporary workings of parasexuality describe specific kinds of relationships between majority groups and marginalised groups or people; relationships where structural power imbalances are at work. As in typical Victorian parasexuality, contemporary parasexuality seems to involve the “gifting” of conditional power to the marginalised group or person. However, it also involves the utter denial and erasure of that group or person’s minority identification. Contemporary parasexuality stems more often from a place of denial and punishment on the part of the majority party rather than the Victorian place of acknowledgement and accommodation.
The “normal” body is obviously a highly contentious issue. A “normal” body in the West is white, cisgender (one could argue even male), able both physically and mentally, is skinny, toned, or muscly, and is a lot rarer than the concept of “normal” would suggest. As Audre Lorde says, this norm is mythical, and “each one of us within our hearts knows ‘that is not me’’.
The significance and relevance of gender today, along with ‘biological’ sex, is hotly contested in progressive gender theorist circles. The impact of transgender and intersex people and their own lived experiences on the discourse around gender has meant that the various constructions of gender is now significantly more obvious, and the discourse in some spheres is becoming more critical.
In ‘Leatherdyke Boys and their Daddies’, originally published in a 1997 issue ofSocial Text, C. Jacob Hale outlines specific gender performativities in specific SM contexts, and ways performances in these contexts can be used by assigned-female-at-birth (AFAB) transgender people, specifically trans men, to explore masculinity in a way that contributes to their transition.
The late 20th and early 21st century has seen a freeing of sex, sexuality, and gender. Anthony Giddens described this freeing of sex as “plastic”, attributing it to a variety of social and cultural changes such as effective contraception and the liberation of women disconnecting sex from the sole purpose of reproduction. But perhaps more notable, especially in recent years, is the freeing of gender and sex from the binaries of modernist thought.
This year I took an introductory course in sociology, a course on fantasy and science fiction, and an introductory course on social network analysis. I did this all online, on Coursera.org, and the courses were organised by universities such as Princeton. I was one student in a class of quite literally thousands.
Our society is one of constant change – it always has been, but now it is faster than ever. The catalyst to this rapid change is the internet. It has, and is still, making new ways and approaches to doing things – more often than not, for the better. This does come at a price: it requires existing industries to keep up with the changes, something that is difficult to do, and as a result, some industries are losing out.
Whether or not artists should be permitted to appropriate (take and use) other peoples’ imagery in their creation of their art works relies very much on the context of the appropriation. For example, it is (traditionally) a given that the appropriated image is to be recognised by the viewer – the artist intends for the viewer to bring their perception and meaning of the original work to their appropriated piece for whatever reason the artist intends (usually to make a statement, often about the piece in question). However, it is possible to argue that appropriated works that do not do this entirely are still acceptable in our post-modern (although it is almost definite that all appropriated works intend for the original to be recognised). Perceptions of appropriation range wildly – some think it is not permissible, while others think it is in some contexts. Appropriation and fair use is an ongoing issue in the law courts, and is particularly relevant today, with the rise of copyright issues and the freedom of the internet.
At first glance, this view on games seems rather reasonable, no? After all, they are the mass-produced fodder of basement-dwellers, aren’t they? Not so. Take a closer look and think – even on the simplest, most inarguable level, video games are at least a container for art – in them we see all forms of traditional art – visual artworks, aural works, and narrative pieces, for example. These we all regard on their own as art forms, but when combined into the medium of video games, we seem to disregard that.