Two years ago, I developed this project critiquing and following patterns of violence in New York City. I wanted to base this work on the public records supplied by the NYPD supposedly to the general public under the Freedom of Information Act. Through these records expose the invasive techniques of surveillance and critique a system that attempts to predict patterns through data as apposed to those affected by such crimes. I then wanted to place a real time video of my own surveillance, pointing out their inherent flaws in a gallery with hundred of caged canaries, anthropomorphically singing to those who have experienced a hate crime because of their sexual preference. Well, trying to actually get the records, understandably sensitive information, proved extremely difficult…no, impossible. I never could have imagined the complexity and difficulty of this project, which I thought to be simple drop in the bucket. I am still striving to make this project happen, but of course rethinking it’s scope far more but more on that later!
I nurtured this project out of Leonie Sandercock’s opinion. A pillar in the multi-cultural planning theory community based in Australia, she uncannily paralleled another activists/planner’s work, British based Peter Tatchall. In her seminal, critical work, Making the Invisible Visible, she discusses the uses of social contracts in democratic communities, and wonderfully dovetails many universal concepts I apply to this project: gentrification [out of the queer ghetto], public safety concerns [among queers] and building upon what Peter meant by his statement:
“Women and gays. We’re the litmus test of whether a society is democratic and respects human rights. We’re the canaries in the mine.”
Though Peter Tatchall has become a pariah in the queer planning community for his anti-Muslim remarks over the past years, I still find his assertion salient and involvement in queer politics important, because his statement above acted as a premonition to the current status quo transpiring globally for queers (some buzz topics to catch up on are the Pope, Russia, England anti-trans policing, The US workplace rights, France’s backing of anti-gay groups). So is Peter’s unpopular opinion reason to distance him from our community? As I want to believe Mill’s social contract theory in On Liberty holds a drop of water, haters gonna hate, but Peter’s a force to be included in the conversation.
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I have been slowly working on a project about the above topic (below is the projects title and advertisement). I am getting ready to go public, get some people to help produce this and more specifically get the proper permits so the NYPD can not call it an act of civil disorder. What I truly wish is to get this listed as a public art work, just have to put that out there.
Here is a great article which was on Huffington Post last year
which posits the riot as a project worth pursuing. As Mark Allan suggests, the Stonewall Riot has been a signifigant moment in civil rights history, that we are quickly forgetting. But more on this later
For a quick recap, here is another great story which was on NPR a few years back, which I found helpful to sink my teeth into this project
new project. Field experiments
Hyper-connectivity through smartphones plays a key role in my examination of surveillance culture relating to queer bodies, social contracts, and suppression. The recent spike in violence towards the LGBTQ community propels me to pursue ‘Field Experiments’, where I examine the site and critical specificities surrounding these violations. I purpose we meet in person, at the very site where a gay bashing occurred. Please bring your cellphone so we can both document, from our individual viewpoint, the experiment. We will talk through and re-enact the bashing, piecing it together as recounted by news coverage, swapping roles as the victim and the aggressor, questioning each other, while attempting to understand the undercurrents of privilege, discrimination, fear, and economies of pain behind these crimes. Afterward I request you share your footage so I will be able to create video, oscillating between our angles, questions and role reversals.
please feel free to email me to meet up and participate, be queer, gay, transgender, lesbian, with an openmind: firstname.lastname@example.org
poster design: projectTARGETED
Well, I am clearly, epically behind here. I have never felt the fall out, postpartum depression that can come along with creating a body of work, in particular, one that took two years from inception to end. I wanted it to be something greater, something that would bring about fame, or get me into gradschool, but then I realized I was being overly idealistic, silly and most importantly chasing fame not chasing a pursuit of happiness. I am slowly understanding what it means to have a practice, not just as a thing maker but as someone with a vision.
Needless to say, I’ve grown up, and done more of what I want to do, which is make work exploring my own experiences as a queer, my own anger and my desire to belong to something, though I don’t know what that something is just yet. Website coming soon! (i hope) Expect more work up in the coming weeks.
I am excessively embarassed by this next statement, but I have to thank Collin’s ‘Hunger Games’ for one of my next projects. Kids do the bidding, they don’t have agency and are told how high to jump. But even with a slue of suicides, children being bullied has been written off. WHAT!?!? Something is backwards with this stream of consciousness by educators and politicians. We got rid of DADT in the military to secretly instate it in our public education system! The pain and agony resulting from being called gay as a kid still hurts. Now the bullies have crisp suits, and are broadcast live on CSPAN….Back to the schoolyard I go!