Joined for Life is a monument to my past in which a space is made for the contemplation of faulty body-image and identity formation in a 21st century mediatic environment. This body of work draws together many of the loose threads from sis, expounding on the embodied subject position behind those works with clarity instead of masquerade (as in sis). During the time I was producing this work, I was heavily operating under the strongholds of gender dysphoria and obsessions I did very little to resist. Succinctly, this work represents an unnatural convergence of internalized body-image issues and externally directed obsessions toward the image of dicephalic conjoined twins seen on television at an early-age; an encounter that marked me by way of ecstatic enrapturement and empathic overload. In other words, the mechanisms of gender dysphoria and self-rejection were fluid enough to attach themselves into a form beyond that of the opposite sex, and fearfully into a "trans-conjoined" desire and identity. Parapagus, the animated film at the center of this body of work, meticulously narrates the development of this perverse identity from childhood and into adulthood, charting all the forces and misgivings that wove themselves into this subjectivity. Having experienced all this, I can only say: God works in mysterious ways. The silver-lining to this unusual story lies in how it eventually "broke" and liberated me from my transgender identity, opening my eyes to the apparent incommensurabilities inherent to trans narratives, of wanting to be what the Lord has not created one to be.
Alan is a fictional young man on the milder end of the autism spectrum; in earlier days, he would've been labelled with Asperger's Syndrome as I was in 2005. The animated film [intensifies] narrates Alan's experiences in the world as someone living on the spectrum, zig-zagging through various points of his life in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood alike in a non-linear fashion. In the narrative, one discovers that Alan is chronically lonely and lives as a pariah in contemporary American society. As if that wasn't enough, he realizes that despite the exclusion he experiences, people like him play a large role in the national imaginary, though in ways they didn't quite sign up for. Alan lives in a world much like ours, in which autistic children are treated as faulty machinery to be repaired, the neurologically pathologized are profiled and scapegoated as potential lone-wolf shooters, or in which entertainment and social media stereotype autistic people into staples of cruel humor and ridicule. Alan's drawings accompany the film, in which he metaphorizes his experiences through images of machines and warfare. The title [intensifies] is derived from a popular internet meme in which images are comically captioned with [AUTISM INTENSIFIES], and accordingly, this film and its paired drawings speak to an intensification of diagnoses, discourses, and affective panic in response to a perceived "autism crisis" in the United States of America.
All works titled under sis delve into the potentials of long-tails or "filter bubbles" in computer networks to proliferate unusual forms of identity and sexuality. sis draws from my experiences of having my nervous system "hijacked" by various forms of viral identity as well as the psychosexual deformations made possible by the proliferation of easily-accessible computer networks. sis reveals the decidedly demoniacal character of online relations (or non-relations): it's cybernetic feedback loops of enablement, compulsion, addiction, perversion, groupthink, idolatry, cultism, mutagenesis of the self, etc...
I pray for the deliverance of recent generations coming of age by the screen, of outcasts who take refuge in the darkest corners of computer networks, the wounded who struggle with unspeakable traumas, and those who are taught to worship the self and its insatiable lusts.