Androgyny (2013-2014) explores the power and complexity of gender identity in a series of photographic portraits, short films, and an interactive installation. The work challenges social constructions of gender and celebrates gender expression and fluidity.
Merriam Webster defines androgyny:
1: having the characteristics or nature of both male and female
2A. neither specifically feminine nor masculine <the androgynous pronoun them>
2B. suitable to or for either sex <androgynous clothing>
The series is comprised of 57 portraits, 3 short films, an installation of a non-functioning public restroom where one can hear audio interviews with the subjects.
The photographs invite the viewers to look, stare, and question, which unfortunately is what happens to the subjects on a regular basis in public. It is in The Bathroom, that the viewer will encounter the reverse where they can sit and listen to the subjects experiences, thoughts, and feelings while immersed in the space that everyone knows too well: the public bathroom. The piece begins gendered as there are 2 entrances, male and female, but leads to the same space. This is a direct commentary on our current bathroom system and the need for safe unisex bathrooms.
The video pieces Girl, Boy, Both and Selfie deal with Androgyny in 2 different manners. Girl, Boy, Both is a documentary film following a Milwaukee public school’s second grade class as 2 students (Amaya in 2nd grade and Ami in 4th grade) teach Amaya’s class about gender acceptance. Both girls have struggled with bullying due to their look and presentation. Dale Weiss, Amaya’s teacher, worked with them to develop and teach a unit on gender acceptance. Selfie is a conceptual piece that centers around the idea of identity fluidity based on presentation. Selfie is a series of short videos of the artist dressed up in stereotypical characters. The audio is comprised of voiceover from the artist using contrasting content ranging from lude gender jokes to the biology of gender. The film addresses the notion on how fragile our identities are and how much painting and packaging goes into identity.