Identity // Singularity
My work explores themes of queer identity while engaging the function of social media platforms, and personas fabricated through digital realities. I am interested in our relationship with technology, how we explore identity through a filtered world, and question how installation and object can disrupt heteronormative culture. Rendering immersive environments is essential, as I seek to emulate the digital realms one operates within daily, i.e. Instagram, Snapchat, Reality TV, etc. Whether the outcome of a piece is an object, performance/video, or 2-dimensional, my work is based on the need to document. Through physical space on a grand scale, video satisfies my conceptual concerns, while the projector fulfills my spatial objectives. Combining relatively new digital media work, such as video, with flashy materials my work recontextualizes perceptions of narcissism and queer identity through iconography and mass media imagery. Parallels between popular culture and art history are integrated through iconography. Examining the current persona present in social media, my work contrasts the authority of the past with the fleeting satisfaction of the new.
Currently, I am expanding upon narratives within constructed identities integrating queer utopic theory with historical imagery and video mapping software. Utopia is a critique of the here and now, a potentiality in a horizon of possibility. José Esteban Munoz reflects on this topic in his book, The SAGE Handbook of Performance Studies, in a chapter examining Kevin McCarty’s photographs of empty stages. He states, “At this moment it seems that queer culture needs to nourish our sense of potentiality and not reinforce our feeling of disappointment. If we are to go on, we need a critical modality of hope and not simply dramatization of loss and despair.” With a political regime concentrated on highlighting societal differences, it is my intent to restore focus on the queer body, the spaces it has occupied throughout history, and the effects of how it is interpreted through digital realms today.
Dustin Steuck is a performance-based video installation artist currently living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Steuck received a double Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, 2017. Recent accomplishments include selection as a semifinalist for the Manifest Gallery’s One 8, The 8th Annual Manifest Prize, honorable mention in the International Sculpture Center’s 2017 Outstanding Student Achievement Award program, and awarded a Student Research Grant funded by the University of Wisconsin-Stout, 2017. Steuck has exhibited his work locally at the Soo Visual Arts Center and Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota, and nationally at the Bradbury Art Museum in Jonesboro, AR.
We have continued to exist within a society that shames us for the thighs, cellulite, and folds that encompass us. We are all more than our individual bodies, but those fleshy exteriors are what mold our individual experiences in the way we go through the world. I am a fat, white, cis-gendered woman walking through the world with definite privileges, while also carrying a body that never ceases to be the subject of comments and discussions. For years I painted myself over and over again, finding some kind of truth and relationship with my body that I had never been able to have before.
While that work has been interesting and so vital to my artistic journey, my recent exploration into different women and their identities has opened up so much. Each person I have been able to photograph and paint inspire me through their drive, intellect, boldness, and passion. They have been willing to share so much of themselves, their stories and their bodies. The subject of each piece captures a truth and personal power within each individual. I am so proud to have worked with each and every one of these women.
My goal with each photo session was to create comfort and ease in the space, and never push any volunteer in a direction they were uncomfortable with. We discussed what should be censored or could be exposed. Not every model wanted their face and full identity released, and that became part of the project. We are all in different places in our body journey.
These paintings only graze the surface of what I will create with these women, and I hope to work with many more individuals and diversify the representation in the future. We, ourselves, are present and never wavering in our boldness through this collection of new work.
Crushing existentialism, mixed with an unending “need” to consume media, products, and contrived human connection//capital….How do I radically “love”//”take care of” myself and combat and flourish in systems banking on my failure?
And so on… Much of Capitalism’s hold on me is plastic and superficial. And yet I still consume and say I’m trapped.