Quoting Ourselves was born from a passion project researching and interrogating the historical representations of lesbian women in interwar Paris, a project that quite intensely fueled my radical distaste for history production and “the archive.” As the research I was able to gather made blatantly clear, history, which is both patriarchal and kyriarchal, renders visible those population that are privileged, namely white, male, cisgender, and heterosexual, while rendering invisible all those that fall outside this model. What I found in this specific case was historical representation of a canon of lesbians that were distinctly white, bourgeois, and socialite. These voices created a chorus that continually spoke for the lesbian community during this era, producing a singular “lesbianism” that contributed to the elimination of the plethora “lesbianisms” that existed. Many questions arose. What does it mean to document the lived experiences of queer peoples? Does the queer historical archive as it stands reproduce and/or contribute to the kyriarchial system that it seeks to deconstruct? While archives of queer experience may provide powerful opportunities to critically address systems of oppression and the interlocking mechanisms of the “personal” and “political,” what does it mean for others to be writing that history? Who is included, and who is silenced? As a response, Quoting Ourselves comprises a queer archive and community space in which artists critically engage with their own histories and mythologies in order to deconstruct “queer history” and attempt to create a new future whereby queer histories are created by queers themselves. Focusing intensely on those populations that are often left out of the LGBT archive, namely queer and trans people of color, this collection of self portraiture, subjective film essays, poetry, interactive video games, radical zines, and diary photography works to fill the holes created by the kyriarchal process of history production, focusing on the notions of visibility and invisibility. What is possible when we quote ourselves?
Nia King - Guest speaking
ASI Art Gallery