Ethno-Surrealist Theories

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Ethno-Surrealist Theories

is it a vehicle for?
I use it in the surreal aspects of the project as a time travel device in that living artists’ DNA will be matched to ancient ancestry, thus crossing time and space through science. DNA matching is held up as the standard in forensic identification. It is a testing method people trust as indisputably factual, it wields enormous authority, as does Giles, so it’s a good fit.

Your performance at Dixon Place was very well received and drew a lot of interaction from the crowd.
Yes, I was surprised and very, very relieved—as you can imagine. The Giles Findings is a fully shaped story, but the lecture is only an excerpt. The whole story would be too long as a lecture so I have to rely on audience to flesh out what is important to them. I’m surprised at how successful it can be to rely on audience questions. It’s also very surprising when someone from the audience, who is not a lesbian, is “in” on the humor. I sometimes think I live in a queer bubble, but when the humor successfully crossed out of that bubble—having appeal to a wider audience—wow. I was quite pleasantly surprised about that.

How do you prepare to perform Giles?
Red wine, cappuccino, and raw chocolate get me through the hours and hours of research, writing and shaping the enthography and prepping slides for presentation. Once the narrative and props are in place I draw on my otherwise useless experience as a corporate trainer and keep my “talking points” with my slide rule in Giles’ breast pocket.

Speaking of talking points, you mentioned the link between culture and contagion, specifically about Lesbians/Lesbeings contaminating culture.
My view of contagion is positive and influenced by Randy Martin, a sociologist and mentor who encourages me to “keep spreading the contagion from those petri dishes.” Contagion also harkens to the work of Steve Kurtz (Critical Art Ensemble). Pepe Karmel references Yve-Alain Bois’ suggestion to adopt the “bacteriological” metaphor of Kazimir Malevich to see artists in different times and places as “infected” by different and earlier ideas.

I connect with these ideas because they encourage us to look at both language and established concepts differently. Infection, for instance, is not always a bad thing. Good things can be infectious, like laughter and lesbian

Comments [6]

Grace Moon's picture

I wish I had seen Kate's

I wish I had seen Kate's performance at Dixon!

deff headed to Lohman before this closes.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

patricia's picture

me too!

I also missed it, but saw a video recording of the performance. We should go next time!

Kate Conroy's picture

Thank you!

Thanks so much for your interest and support!  As soon as I have another performance date I'll let you know.  

-- Kate Conroy,

Marcie Bianco's picture

P, does the installation

P, how does the installation follow or coincide with the Dixon Place performance? Can't wait to head to Lohman for all things queer!

...Happy to hear she's claiming the "L slice" -- more of that is needed!

patricia's picture

Hi Marcie!

This interview was really only timed with Conroy's piece (Lesbian Culture Series, 2012) at the Queer Pop-Up Show, currently STILL up at L Lohman.

So, Conroy's conceptual work is data-driven (historical portraits in petri dishes, diagrams, maps, ethno surrealistic interpretations of geographic migrations), performative (Giles' explanation of the "data") and interactive (audience participation: Giles answering the audience's questions—in character!).

That's the current spectrum of the work at this stage. At the Pop-Up show, viewers can analyze the petri dishes up close with a magnifying glass, just like B. Giles probably does.

I thought it was one of the strongest pieces in the show.

Kate Conroy's picture

so sharp!

Patricia, thanks for "getting" my work and explaining it so easily.  I'm learning from you.


-- Kate Conroy,