‘Something Sticky’ is a series of lighting sculptures that shine light on various symbols of queer pasts. Through joining various different material elements, each piece attempts to write the narrative of queer legends, and question the cavernous holes left in the telling of time.

Working with various symbols used by queer communities throughout history, the series works to evidence lost pasts. They question the hegemonies that gave shape to our heteronormative histories that have long erased the queer experience. ‘Something Sticky’ takes a red-hot-poker to the classical, typical and conservative, forging queer shapes into places they should have always been. ‘Douching’ history.

The series outlines various paradigms that have given shape to a prejudiced past and the biassed recording of it - continuing to suppose methods in which we can identify voids in histories and where queer scents can guide us to truth. 

'Something Sticky' is made possible by Stimuleringsfonds NL

Sometimes having to swim upstream against the current, these histories can be challenging to navigate. The codes once used by oppressed queers so successful in their covertion they leave almost no trace. Although peppered in the most unexpected of places we can discover specs of glitter between the sheets and the aches of lost love. 

Deliberately kitchen-sinky in its form language, ‘Something Sticky’ is a hot-pot of queer culture. Like sticky hands gathering breadcrumbs; wet skin on the sand, a lint roller removing hairs from a dinner jacket. The series is given shape by gathering what has been left behind. 

Both the unusual in the regular and absence in the mundane can be our litmus test to discovering the uncanny; stories of queer pasts are just as likely found where we might least expect them. Recognising the tears and breaks that exist in the ordinary. The unpredictable key to our map for discovering hidden queer gold. Although, like a foot gently tapping under a closed cubicle, it’s often instinct that tells us where to look. 

Gone are the days where “Images are locked in a frame, for safety.” (M. Atwood). As are the days of dutiful attempts to seamlessly assimilate into society. Archives are made to be opened. Knowledge is meant for learning, unlearning and relearning. Discourse is the yardstick of liberation.

“While historical silencing is destructive, the act of remembering and preserving history can be a rallying cry for community building, solidarity and justice.”

-Jake Newsome

We resist the void through documenting ourselves, our lives, rebuking our forced silence. Filling in the gaps where grease covered fingers have resisted the lay of pigment, the making of a mark. 

‘Fiji Mermaid’, the fifth piece of the series, reflects on the tale of the artefact of the same name. Supposedly caught near the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific by Japanese sailors, it was sold to an American sea captain who returned it to the U.S. where it was toured in slideshows as evidence of a hybrid creature. It was later debunked as a commercially manufactured composite, and revealed to be one of many produced by entrepreneurial and mischievous fishermen. The artefact shows how the mechanisms we have to inspect historic records are reflective of the present moment. As artefact travel through time, whilst their componentry remains fixed, the mechanisms we use to inspect and analyse drastically change.

Another piece, a wall-sconce entitled ‘Bee-Orchid’, reproduces the organs of the flower. Adapting over time to resemble the genitals of the female bee, it is able to entice the male bee into the flower who will then transfer its pollen elsewhere. From an ecological lens, the evolution of the bee orchid reveals to us nature's willingness to supersede our normative expectations of pollination and reproduction; the spreading of seed. A flower in drag; nature fends our existence. 

Myths of mermaids and tales of gender-bending flowers are so efficiently able to critique the power structures that exist around us. They evidence that a queer way of investigating the world can indeed reshape our epistemology, allowing us to see things in the technicolour that it has always been.

The hope is, like a new language evolving in front of us, we might learn to adopt these tools and find the power to see queer in all the places it’s been overlooked. That if flowers are allowed to open, their seed might take flight and bring back regular nature to the field. 

So usual that it might become part of the furniture.

The research loosely follows a Bergerian logic towards anthropology:

“...anthropology, concerned with the passage from nature to culture…”

Thus the research enquiry is gently guided through a successional yet looping format; ground, nature, animals, body, tongue. This approach, by nature, is cyclical: where each end feeds into the other, a method that feels appropriate addressing a constant. A queerness that has always been. That can be found everywhere. From one end and realm, into another.

The ground embalms artefact that evidences lost pasts. Nature gives life to diversity and the things that cannot be controlled, that refuse restraint. Animals enact nature's unabashed and inherent animation of queer behaviour. The body represents man's historical resistance to what is evidently natural. The tongue tells tales passed between people that have resisted and subverted restraint, working against man's hegemonic intent to cleanse the queer in nature. Oral legend becomes artifieced in various code and buried to survive the frictions of the surface.

Connecting the loose threads of each of these realms enables us to restore the weave of the frayed tapestry of a people meant together.