Artist Statement

My research and resultant art work challenge the perception of the socially-constructed gender binary through the use of a cybernetic body and the idea of a fluid and contingent self. The gender theories of Donna Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto, proposes the cyborg as a constructed being that lacks any genetic signifiers of sex or gender. She argues that the cyborg is a metaphor for a third recombinant gender. This idealized organism is neither male, nor female since it is built to represent the inner identity of the being and fully realized. As a constructed being, the biological gender is removed and is replaced with the identity of a person. Although veneered in an armored shell that exhibits some gendered characteristics, these cyborgs exhibit androgyny that blurs distinctions between male and female. The time and place these cyborgs exist in is imaginary, but should provoke the viewer into questioning identity stereotypes.

Because being human is more than being the corporeal body, an identity is defined by inner and outer influences of life. Individual identity can be constrained by social constructions, in particular the concept of gender. The concept of “self” removes biological ties; it indicates what it means to simply be. If one is asked the question: “Given complete control to construct one’s physical body, how would they reflect who they feel they are through it?” My work proposes a constructed being, originally born into the world, but given control to choose their avatar. These figurines represent the psychological self in a shell that is devoid of gender stereotypes. It is essential this work be at the figurine scale to invite viewer intimacy with the sculptures and allow a potentially confrontational subject matter to be less intimidating.

 

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