ERIC RANDALL MARKUS
TIMOTHY JAMES BERGERON
XIAN MARIE AZU-BOLES
to visit the moon project
the observatory newspaper front page
As an activist and political artist, my work addresses sociological issues related to gender and queer identities. I explore the stereotypes and expectations of queer presenting people within oppressive heteronormative culture. My work reinserts my community and my identity into systems, spaces, images, and relationships within the broader society that often deny my community’s various identities. My process as an artist is about queering, or “to queer,” a verb that originates from queer theory and the term “queer reading.” This term is used to challenge normative culture and subvert heterosexual binaries. With the act of queering, my work “represents” the world through a queer lens. “Queering is something we do, rather than something we are (or are not).” This process often uses queer-adapted vernacular “references“ to offer a platform of familiarity to a queer viewership. These references are derived from history, theory, and media. Queer specific references constitute a secondary language and an alternate social iconography used within queer culture. Elements of camp, such as artifice and exaggeration, also play a large role in my work, as they allow those positioned outside of the queer community to connect through its humor and formal exaggeration. I believe that art should be accessible to all populations, and by using these elements, I strive to create dialogue around issues facing the queer community both within ourselves and beyond.
Due to the current global pandemic, I was forced to relocate to my parents’ home in Central Pennsylvania. In a time of social isolation, I was confronted with the terms in which this place held. I was looking for any type of escape from both this town and well… Earth in general. Unable to escape the monotony that is day to day life in self-isolation. I decided to take the initiative to get out anyway possible. So, being that I was confined indoors, I climb out of my bedroom window and onto the roof of my parents’ house. I stared up at the Moon that night, all night. I couldn’t leave per se, but I could look into this unknown, uncharted, desirable space that was the Moon. My longing to leave and human desire to explore the unknown pushed me into this mindset. I decided why not? Why not push the boundaries of our situation? How do I escape Earth? So… that is what I was going to do. As an amateur with absolutely no background in rocket science, I turn to the statistical data created by NASA surrounding the 1969 moon landing. This project developed into the creation of a self expedition to the Moon. I was not only a person going to space, but I would be the first only queer person in space.
I dug deeper into the scholarship on space and the Moon. I learned that space was a type of utopian ideal that allowed people to escape their everyday lives. I saw how there are similarities between visions of queer utopia and space. Neither is fully comprehensible or obtainable. They are ideals and aspirations. The feelings of suppression forced me into a state where space seemed like the best out. Space historically has been the way to escape as an idealized space in which countries race to enter into. But outer space is a queer space that lets us see beyond this world and what is missing. It exists beyond the nonnormative logics and organizations of community, sexual identity, embodiment, and activity enforced by our society. Looking at Ilya Kabakov: The Man who Flew into Space from his Apartment, as not only as a work of art but as scholarly research I could use to plan my expedition into cosmic space.