Bennett, A 2019, SKIN: neuroqueer entanglement’, Digital Façade of Federation Square, Melbourne Fringe Festival, 12-29 September 2019
In a new work by artist Alison Bennett, SKIN takes the form of a large-scale photographic artwork that wraps the skin of tattooed neuro-diverse LGBTQIA+ people around the digital facade of Fed Square. Bennett says “I have always wanted to wrap a building in tattooed skin. I am excited by the opportunity to make work that addresses the unique affordances of the Digital Facade and the specific context of Federation Square.”
All of the subjects in this work identify as ‘neuroqueer. This is an identity term that has been adopted to describe the intersection of queerness and neurodiversity. Neurodiversity encompasses a range of atypical neurological experiences such as ADHD, clinical anxiety, and dyslexia. The term neuroqueer is most strongly associated with autism. “Through images of tattoo markings on the surface of the skin, I wanted the consider the common neuroqueer experience of entangled embodiment – the sense of the body merging with the environment. Projecting images of the surface of the skin onto a building is one expression of this entanglement.”
Some of the points of departure for this project include the question posed by philosopher Donna Haraway in her 1991 Cyborg Manifesto: “Why should our bodies end at the skin, or include at best other beings encapsulated by skin?”. Bennett is also interested in the ideas in a book by Pallasmaa ‘The Eyes of the Skin (1996) that articulates embodied non-ocularcentric experiences of architecture (a.k.a., ways of experiencing space other than through vision).
SKIN features a gorgeous sound scape by neuroqueer indigenous artist Diimpa.
- Interview with Fareed Kaviani about the SKIN project, ‘Neuroqueer and tattoos: entangled and disembodied‘, Archer Magazine 12 Nov 2019
- ‘Epicentre’, curated by systaime and David Quiles Guillo for the wrong new digital art biennale, Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània Valencia, 1 Nov 2019 – 1 Mar 2020, https://epicentre.thewrong.org
- ‘Neuroqueer’ interview for QR Code podcast, 3CR