Artist Introspectives

Queer Secrets Exposed

Photo of Vera Rubin. Courtesy of the artist.

Photo of Vera Rubin. Courtesy of the artist.

A beautiful photograph conveys what the artist sees as its rightful and best composition. A photo, said to express a thousand words, has millions of thoughts put into it. One can deconstruct and analyze a photographic image through its use of shutter speed, aperture, and exposure—the amount of light allowed to reach the negative as well as the amount of public attention it receives. The image can be under- and overexposed in both senses, depending on the artist’s view. I am consistently let down by the obligation to bring my work to light. But I am often told exposure is necessary if I would like to sustain myself, if I would like to not be poor, if I would like to gain further popularity and build long-term relevance. And a lot of what I am told is true.

My life has existed mainly in the nighttime, as I believe in the redemptions of nightlife and the fundamental expression of queer culture that is manifested within it.

It’s tough to find the right balance of exposure for my work. My practice and performance are reaching a relatively stable place now. I don’t know if would call myself emerging because I have always operated within an underground scene. Most of my life has been under the radar of relevance, as I grew up in and out of homelessness and a myriad of other annoying tragedies. My life has existed mainly in the nighttime, as I believe in the redemptions of nightlife and the fundamental expression of queer culture that is manifested within it. For most of my life, my body, my intellect, the way I love, and how I fuck (or do not) have been deemed as not relevant to the mainstream conversation. In the daytime and above ground, I find myself confused, misunderstood, upset, and making little sense to most people.

Vera Rubin, Bananas Flyer. Courtesy of the artist.

Vera Rubin, Bananas Flyer. Courtesy of the artist.

This is why I have made my place in the nightlife underground, where I have been making art prolifically for seven years. I’m stoked by my parties, fashion, music, visual art, and writing, and by a community that seems to be really into what I do. All of my art is guided by a general concept of lunacy: a femme energy that controls the night and controls us. This delight in exploring the cerebral irrational and to embracing darkness has helped me tap into a queer collective consciousness and new femme ethic I never knew I was missing but was always starving for. This bliss has its secrets, and its ups and downs.

But to share these secrets with others means exposing them, bringing them to light. Until now, there really has been no reason to do so. But now I am thinking about navigating the exposure to this bliss of the night. Being part of queer culture—that not only involves a new ethic against assimilation, against visibility, against hegemony but also creates a greater, collective, cyborg consciousness—requires care with exposure. I can only take my lunacy seriously to the extent to which I want to recognize the light of the moon.

Vera Rubin. The Night is Femme Exhibition. Courtesy of the artist.

Vera Rubin. The Night is Femme exhibition. Courtesy of the artist.

 

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