Rachael’s Boudoir (The Tower: Penthouse Level), 2018
Rachael’s Boudoir is an installation for performance created for the production of Rachael’s Dream, a one-night-only experimental exhibition that bridged sculpture, theatre, and community. The work was presented at ArtCenter College of Design (Pasadena, CA), on April 15th, 2018.
This project initially aimed to establish something of a queer futurism rooted in science fiction and viewed the cinematic as a site of post-modern and/or contemporary myth genesis. I have found the character Rachael from Blade Runner to be emblematic of some of these points, both to her aesthetic ties to twentieth-century technocracy (not to mention (post)war culture and dystopian film-noir) but also with consideration of the many points in support of a socialist-feminism through the ironic adoption of cyborg identities, as proposed by Donna Haraway in A Cyborg Manifesto.
Moreover, the project sought to shed light on philosophical intersections of the age-old mind-body dichotomy (proposing a shift toward considerations of a spirit-body dichotomy exacerbated by technology), postmodern film lore, the contemporary advent of the fully realized transsexual being as well as genderqueer people of all varieties. These positions are taken in an effort to imagine a post-gender world in which the cyborg—employed here to identify myriad synthetic life forms, including replicants and other cybernetic and/or bioengineered self-expressing entities—plays a critical role in the emergence of a trans post-humanism, or in other words, a queer futurist myth.
The sculptural space (Rachael’s Boudoir) is conceived here as both Rachael’s penthouse apartment within a fictionalized residential tower of a near-futuristic (2019) Los Angeles, as well as her inner dreamscape. The performance that was created in tandem with this installation (Rachael’s Dream) thus aims to materialize an imagined realm of a cyborg’s subconscious; in so doing, notions of what a trans/post-humanism could look like and how that could affect humanity and/or expand its definitions may emerge.
1. Constructed environment (architecture and/or engineered structures); ties to the construction of a site for fantasy projection and/or visions of social revolution (referencing Constructivist architecture and theatre).
2. Aesthetic ties to late colonialism and the expression of capital/power: Art Deco and Postmodern Corporate (with Art Deco throwbacks)
3. Notions of the Haunted—spirit worlds operating within/beneath the fabric of physical reality, including considerations of individual/subjective entities (ghosts), the internet and globalized multimedia complex (another plane of ‘spirit world’), as well as hegemonic forces (capital, fascism, oppressive ideology, big tech, etc. as malevolent spirits). “Hauntedness” reconnects to notions of the mind/body dichotomy present in most post-human discourse, questions of “What makes a human human?” which then perhaps returns to the question of criteria for human designation, and who ultimately makes such determinations. These questions connect to notions of the cyborg/replicant as “more human than human,” (divorced from animalia, but nevertheless supremely intelligent bi-products of human creation) and then the still clear and present danger (or at least denial of dignified humanity) to more than one facet of humanity, including queer and trans human beings.
4. Inter/Connections to alternate renditions of Los Angeles—or Los Angeles’ plural—as myriad timelines/geographies/communities/urban sites of sameness and difference are overlaid upon and intersecting one another.
Inventory of Works
1. Rachael’s Dream (Production Poster)
Duratrans photograph (digital illustration) in lightbox, photograph of Blade Runner (1982) film poster matted and framed with Sean Young’s autograph
2. Piano Chamber (Maquette)
Miniature Piano Chamber (piano music box, acrylic), on pedestal (enameled birch and alder), turntable, electrical components
3. Rachael’s Boudoir
Chaise lounge/rotating pole stage on casters with built-in pedestals for art-deco skyscraper lamp and wig display, antique lighting fixtures, vanity mirror, stainless steel poles, velvet and faux fur upholstery, lace front wig on acrylic wigstand, hair tracks (natural and synthetic blend), 12-volt battery, lighting equipment, electrical components. Constructed in pine, birch, and alder; enameled
4. Piano Chamber
Player piano with bench, acrylic panels in moveable wooden bases, velvet ropes and chromed steel stanchions, lighting equipment, electrical components
5. Noir Climate Change
Rain machine, fog machine, window frosting, electrical components (assembly installed outside / in courtyard of exhibition space; effect to be experienced from inside)
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