Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community
As I write this I sit anxiously at the precipice of dramatic change in my, and all of our social, political and economic realities. In a studio provided for me by an arts organization whose very mission is threatened by the posturing of an idiot on the cusp of seizing power, I work unsteadily as I absorb the full reality of a regime change that renders who I am and what I represent as disposable, abject and unworthy of visibility. As my queer fingers type this text between bursts of information, images and ideas passed through the technological channels crowding my desktop, I await the long darkness with disquieting calm.
While the materials and methods used to make my work exist primarily in technological, computerized space, the physical space I encounter in the studio is a combat-zone. Windowless and sealed it is as much a bunker to keep the world out as a space from which to launch an attack. Space, as I have discovered, is vital to my strategy. This space, my space, safe space, queer space, virtual space become important when activated as place. A place where I can begin preparations to inscribe my queer technocultural vision outward when the target is in striking distance.
When a space like my studio becomes inhabited enough to become a place it assumes its own agency. This place versus that place carry different meanings and embed different histories and potentialities on the work. In this place I am not “professor” or “respectable authority figure”—I get to be the pervert, and a faggot, and objectionable, and unapologetically queer. In this place my queer technosexuality exists without diplomatic grace, and erupts across screens and via my digitally processed bodies. In this place new technosexual possibilities can emerge outside of the scrutiny of conservative research programs, political fears, university assessments and tasteful agendas. In this place I choose to be private or public. In this place there are far less compromises.
On the eve of this enormous shift in who gets to be visible, who is worthy of safety and who gets to be considered I continue to work, as I do everyday, in the studio on queering what it means to be human—queering what it means to be a hybrid, technosexual, possible cyborg released out into the new conservative mainstream. In this space and place I get the opportunity walk past suits and business casual and the unmistakable stench of khaki while inscribing queerness and difference into the very architecture of this strange building-cum-organism. In this way I and my colleagues render ourselves visible whether or not we are desired, and demand the world we inhabit to reflect our visibility, difference and desires.
FROM THE DARKNESS TO THE LIGHT
Seated and restless in anticipation of the long darkness I feel grateful for the opportunity to inhabit this space/place/bunker as the launching point for my technocultural desires. I emotionally prepare for how the darkness may puncture the surface of my spaces and how I might adjust to these unpredictable circumstances. Creatures at the furthest depths of the ocean thrive in extreme darkness by resisting the supremacy of the sun—out of the darkness they make their own light. Awash in the glow of computer screens pregnant with possibilities, I’ll try to do the same.
IMAGES: © Benjamin Rosenthal 2017, all works in progress, 2016-17 3D animation produced in Maya