A disorderly paradise (2020), video (5 min 42 sec)
Obstruction given by Claire Hignett: In A Disorderly Paradise you explore difference and the gaze upon self with sensitivity and empathy. For your obstruction I would like you to use those same skills to make new, remake or change A Disorderly Paradise to include the experiences and perspectives of people who do not have the XX chromosome combination
I was uncomfortable with my obstruction. I was concerned that it could be misread as reducing people to their chromosomes – as a gesture towards biological or genetic determinism. Such beliefs are used to reinforce structures of power and oppression and to justify slavery, racism and misogyny: to deny women’s, queer and trans rights.
My practice is an exploration of difference. I’m interested in how exclusion from society, or objectification, give license to develop other ways of being, of conceptualising the world and of communicating. I’m interested in the possibilities this opens - unlikely forms of alliance and creative forms of resistance. One fundamental act of creative resistance – and a basic tenet of feminism - is working together: my practice is essentially participative.
My response to the obstruction was to complicate it through a focus on difference and on collaboration. I asked five people, all of whom find themselves judged as, in some way, outside of the existing cultural norms of this society, to voice their thoughts and ideas about what place means to them.
In these times of COVID I was unable to record my contributors or film their places myself as I had done previously. Instead they recorded themselves and their landscapes so that the film became a collaborative effort with Rémy Noë, Asifa Lahore, Emma Plover, Alex J Gardner, Beau-Azra Tavi Scott and Grace Oni Smith.
Although different from each other, their words and their voices, each unique and individual, coalesce, echo and reinforce one other. Together they question matters of boundary, definition and authority and offer notions of fluidity, freedom and future.