The Extra Sensories, Metabolic Lights, Thought Transfer, Climate of Fatality, and Our Love Will Transcend This
Carisa Showden and María DeGuzmán
© Carisa Showden and María DeGuzmán. Courtesy of the artists.
The Extra Sensories, Metabolic Lights, Thought Transfer, Climate of Fatality, and Our Love Will Transcend This play with scale, orientation, and multivalent language. They do so to encourage viewers to see new connections and rethink how power shapes identities, relations, and possible futures. These photo-haiku are meant to be critical of the patriarchal, colonial, capitalist, racist, and hegemonic epistemologies and actions that have led us into the current climate crisis, on-going attacks on cis-women and gender queer people, and demands for homonormativity in exchange for political rights. Staging performers and musicians in a force field of spheres, The Extra Sensories posits art-making as a necessary means to resist authoritarian repression and/or control of the senses and affects. Metabolic Lights evokes the 1950s & 1970s idealized feminine mother/wife figure of June Cleaver and the “self-help” book The Total Woman to critique the norms they evoke: only when washed through an acid trip, a psychedelic disorientation of heteronormative femininity, can such figures speak to the intersectional perspectives on femininity that can liberate us from oppressive politics. Thought Transfer highlights the existential courage, the “dancing with fire,” required to live on the precipitous edge (of social legibility, but also of political rights, economic survival, and more), and the liminal way along which an intersectional queer feminism often leads its practitioners. Climate of Fatality explores the disturbing, mutually reinforcing dynamic between environmental degradation and patriarchal authoritarianism that attempts to confine political agency to trivialized “choices”—hence, genuflect or tan. Our Love Will Transcend This layers critiques of the surveillance state, the othering of lesbianism through a policing heteronormative male gaze, state powers of categorization, and various forms of marginalization with voices that resist. This photo-haiku conjures interstitial spaces of resistance where the multiply voiced “we” reimagine ourselves and our desires, looking back and looking away and refusing to be cowed by repressive demands on and readings of our experiences, identities, and desires.
This series of five photo-haiku is part of a larger collection that employs scale (the enlargement of the diminutive figurines through macro lenses) and the reflection and deflection of light to imaginatively evoke both critiques of the present and possibilities for a less oppressive future. The complete series builds further intersectional critique and decolonial theory into the queer and feminist work seen here.