Through text, image and installation; the artists strive to explore both the historical and contemporary existence of femme identity. Alexander’s approach pulls from pop culture and pornography, using oversaturated imagery to explore the way queer femmes are represented in the media. Alexander explores micro aggressive language in a satirical manner, to break down the subtleties of femme phobia in film and television.
Morgan uses analog technologies as an entry point for viewers to interact with the stories of queer folks both historically and contemporarily, with a focus on queer femme identities. By blending time to create a lasting and long thread of feminist queer activism and lived realities, they challenge the notion that queer feminist activism and femme presence exist within a certain time period.
Both approaches use different methodologies; however work towards a simultaneous goal of archiving the existence of queer femmes. Focusing on and inspired by lived experiences, both works take from contemporary and historical queer presence and absence, and question the roles expected of queer femmes. The works interact with each other to display the efforts of archiving queer life from the artist's perspective, and the importance of visibility and existence as resistance.
Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, 34 Isabella St, July 2017.
During my travels I always make a point to visit a city’s “Gay Village”, if there is one. I am fascinated by the aesthetics and symbols that are used in these spaces to convey that they are gay: the imagery, the posters, the language, the colours. I am interested by what is visible and what is hidden. What I am missing and what is in front of me.
I wonder to myself: who are these spaces for and what is their purpose or significance to someone who lives in that city? I question how globalization has changed these spaces, and the development of a universal queer coding.
Through my photographic investigations, I found that many of these villages have a similar aesthetic. Rainbow flags adorn the walls, buff (usually white) male bodies cover their posters, and english is usually written even if that isn’t the language of that country. It is obvious the influence of western gay culture and beauty standards, and popular homonormative narratives (such as “Love is Love”).
My interest with visiting other gay villages around the world is to explore the similarities and differences, examine what makes spaces gay, and cultural differences.