Summer 2018 Open Call: Disruption
“If I wait for someone else to to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.” - Zanele Muholi
In a society that favors masculine constructs supporting capitalism, whiteness, and cis-hetero supremacy, LGBTQIA+ communities are often misunderstood and misrepresented, with queerness being seen as a threat to mainstream culture. While laws and media attention of queer representation have seen drastic changes within the past decade, attitudes concerning these marginalized communities tend to experience a slower rate of acceptance.
In Open Call: Disruption, we’re seeking a photographic exploration that challenges not only mainstream cis-hetero culture, but expands on the current visual and verbal lexicon of popular queer culture.
Juror: Claire A. Warden, July 2018 Artist in Residence
Chris M. McGuire
Chris M. McGuire
"The disabled body within photography is a disruption with a history of medical scrutiny, sympathetic charity, and spiteful inspiration. These pervasive photographic modes are an attempted reconciliation of the distinct humanity of disability. I am working to find an alternative that is that is in dialog with this dynamic. Bringing queer and disabled identity together looking at where these identities intersect along with their paradoxes.
The camera serves a dual purpose in my practice: It is both society’s gaze and my own, a tool to examine the tension between my corporeal self and my photographic self. I perform for the camera while examining myself as a fetish object, a symbol, and whole individual. I acknowledge my disability. I recognize my status as an outsider. Through my work I reclaim my own image and subvert societal perceptions of the disabled body. I challenge and deconstruct these classifications by queering the established representations of disability. I explore the roles of Adonis, the inadequate stud, the observer, and the subject. I work to generate a dialogue around the distinct humanity of living with a disability.
"Into? explores the constructs of masculinity, identity, and sexuality through still-life photography and portraits of Guthrie and his partner. In the context of personal experiences, Guthrie’s relationship narrates moments of intimacy and vulnerability, while his significant other serves as a self-portrait throughout the images. This allows him to examine when his masculinity and femininity intersect, and how this reflects or contradicts certain stereotypes and perceptions towards femme gay men in Western culture, who are pressured to conform to masculinity by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike.Combining portrait and still-life photography, Guthrie creates a visual dialogue that celebrates the beauty in feminine men, while also celebrating himself in the process. Ultimately, Into? seeks to find ways sexuality is conveyed and how we as individuals construct our own personal notions of preference and desire."
Kenneth Guthrie obtained his BFA in Studio Art with a Photography emphasis from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2016. He works as a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) and is entering his second year as an MFA in Photography candidate at Columbia College Chicago, working towards the completion of his thesis work, Into? (working title).
"My project, entitled Friends of Dorothy - Censored, focuses on the ways cultural discomfort of queerness is handled in an institutional setting. Friends of Dorothy - Censored depicts a scrambled composite of images of people engaging in queer sex acts. The bisection of these images is on the one hand violent - bodies are cut and reconfigured, mirroring the disapproval many feel around depictions of queer sexuality. At the same time, the abstraction of these images serves to equalize the various forms of sexuality depicted, offering the message that people of all creeds are equally entitled to their own experiences without judgement. The rearrangement abstracts the image to the point where it is not possible to see what is taking place within the image, protecting the viewer from being uncomfortable with queer sexuality and perpetuating the idea that queerness is something to need protecting from.
Discomfort is the feeling of uneasiness, anxiety, or embarrassment. Discomfort also forces you to grow and experience that which you are afraid of. Through the creation of this project I had to approach strangers and ask them to be completely vulnerable to not only me but also my camera. I had to enter the homes of these strangers and shortly after meeting for the first time photograph them in their most intimate moments, engaging in sex.The title 'Friends of Dorothy' refers to a label in reference to queer identity. The term was used as a way for queer people to identify each other without outing themselves. This was necessary in order to not make others uncomfortable with their queerness. The theme of the project was designed not only to push my artistic boundaries but to also face my anxieties relating to human sexuality. This work attempts to challenge traditional notions of the male gaze by literally representing the gaze of a young queer female who is embracing queer sexuality and sex. The fact that this body of work was denied from exhibition only reinforces the notion that the representations of gender, sex, and sexuality that do not conform to certain traditions make people uncomfortable."