flipping the island
My current body of work, Flipping the Island, centers around transness and queerness as they relate to the nonhuman, navigated specifically through the myriad ecologies present on the island of minong, also known as isle royale. Drawing from the way the ecologies on this island flip over on themselves, I speculate through art making what kinds of transformations might be possible when taking the ability to move, shift, or change radically, as a given for navigating precarity, rather than a distant possibility.
In Guard Hairs, one of the pieces from this body of work, these ecologies are touched on through the interrelatedness of settler copper mining and ongoing reintroduction of wolves to the island. This process of reintroduction reached a tipping point when, after decades of inbreeding and warming temperatures isolating the island from surrounding wolf populations, the last three wolves who could sustain a population on the island drowned in a copper mine. Approaching this through guard hairs, the part of the animal’s fur which protects the animal from weather and UV rays, as well as signals affective shifts, I query these confluences of ecological crisis, tipping over, and transformation. Guard Hairs was made by cutting, folding and hooking pieces of steel-coated copper wire through gauze over and over. The repetitive, process-based approach, done with material which signals wounding and extraction as well as being precarious in and of itself, speaks to piecing out speculations that hinge on trans and queer formations of un-and-re-becoming, intra/action, and erotics.
Nestled aside his studio work, my research and art practice is often guided by walking. Walking is fundamental to my practice as a way of navigating lived experience and generating long-term place and encounter driven exploration alongside a committed studio practice. My studio practice is responsive and often process-oriented, with engagements of speculation, uncertainty, and precarity informing how I move through making.
For additional writing related to this body of work, please visit the online component of the recent exhibition of this work here.