STATEMENT/MANIFESTO. SPRING/SUMMER 2019.
I have always been fascinated by artist manifestos. As a 19 year old sitting in an art history auditorium, anytime a professor would say manifesto it felt so ~*heavy*~. The weight of an artist manifesto felt so much greater than an artist statement. In reality, of course, they are both just declarations of intent. One is not heavier than the other, just as a hundred pounds of feathers weighs the same as a hundred pounds of bricks.
Also in reality, perhaps the Larger Reality, manifestos and statements do hold different weight. A statement is something the police chief makes after a white dude murders a mass of women, stated just as he mused in his manifestos. In this reality, manifestos seem a declaration of extreme (vile, dangerous, evil) intent, while statements seem a declaration of post-intent facts.
In my reality, the one where I didn’t get an Assistant Professor position because I’m gay, I think it’s time for a manifesto/statement.
One of the candidates presented transphobic, racist, hateful work. The other candidate, who got the position, is wrapping up their MFA. I’ve been out of my MFA for a year, adjuncting Foundations + Advanced level courses. I was told it was “apples and oranges”, but I didn’t have quite enough experience. The email sent out to the students stated they “had three strong finalists who were all outstanding in unique ways.”
The Christian institution did not have to directly tell me I was not getting the job because I’m a lesbian. By referring to a transphobic, racist man as equally strong, outstanding, and unique, I was able to piece the discrimination together pretty quickly.
If you live in the reality where manifestos and statements are just different names for the same thing, welcome.
If you live in the reality where ‘homosexuality is a sin’ or is vile, dangerous, evil or extreme or the reason you should deny employment or murder someone or vote against their best interests, then, welp, consider this a manifesto recited through a megaphone.
I am angry. I am sad. Like with any heartbreak, I’ve locked myself in my studio for weeks, listening to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way record on repeat as I just make.
My studio is healing me, but it’s not silencing me.
Manifestos and statements, to me, are the same.
Healing and silence are not.
My titles are generally long - some kind of joke or story, always resembling A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out track title.
Moving forward, my work and my titles and any presentation of my work or presentation of myself, in relation to my work or not, will be nothing but truly honest. It’s a post-#MeToo era and I am going to speak truth into existence.
_ _ _ _ _
I came out to my Dad on Thanksgiving in person.
I came out to my Mom on FaceTime while she was in Dallas and I was in Brooklyn in the middle of January because I didn’t want to ruin her holiday.
There was no way I could ruin her holiday. That was not up to me. It was up to her if her holiday would be ruined.
It’s not up to me if you read this as a manifesto or as a statement or what either of those words mean to you.
What is up to me is never, ever staying neutral in situations of injustice so I will never, ever end up siding with the oppressor.
/ March 2019