"Monsters point us toward the symbiotic entanglement across bodies" - Donna Haraway
Human beings have delineated the space and boundaries of our bodies through a collective fascination with monsters for as long as we've shared language. Monsters represent the distortion and disturbance of the ideal body-a hole in the fence of our singular identities. We've come to understand monsters as hybrids between the recognizable and the uncanny: whether it's the blurring of purity and profanity, savagery and domestication, human and beast, or idealization and mutation, monsters present themselves as a lack of clarity that disturbs us.
Monsters are the physical bodies of entanglement, an entanglement within our interpersonal identities but also the system complexity of shared multi-species survival within our environment. The monster stays within the darkened doorway or in the trees, remaining on the fringe while considering how best and when and if to engage.
For Ménage/rie Unfolded, we are presenting the monstrous entanglement that sexuality and pleasure allows for. Limbs and bodies are substituted for sensations, for objects and interactions that linger on the tongue or slowly tighten like a belt around the neck. The smell of dirt and sweat as bodies vortex between genders, between familiar and unfamiliar, between gentle touch and sadistic impulse, between dominance and submission- to ourselves, to each other, to the objects and images we allow ourselves to become. The monsters in this menagerie track the mythical androgyne, the middle genderless point of confused self and achieved objectness at sexual climax. They bear the transformation of William Blake’s Nebuchadnezzar, as the artists in this exhibit are made into unknowing, responsive beasts by the strange and unfamiliar politics and regression of our country. It is a reclamation of the wild, undomesticated sexuality rejected by both conservatism and American liberalism. These monsters stir the well. They accumulate and entangle through enfolding, Kafka-esque bodies. The philosophy of monsters is that of their own bodies interacting with space. Beasts with two backs or three or four. Monsters learning to walk with four legs. The erotic confuses borders and distinction. We seek to reclaim a lack of clarity, for impulsivity and instinct, for primal assemblage, all in becoming Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. We seek to create a politics of moans and grunts, of licks and bites, of smacks singed with sweat-the third eye that is achieved by rolling your eyes back and biting your lip. The orgasm that translates trauma into empowerment.