Rhythm Nation

"We are a nation with no geographic boundaries, bound together through our beliefs. We are like minded individuals working towards a world free of colour lines."

Lipsync is an ongoing project performed and curated by myself. The work incorporates a catalogue of video performances, filmed over a growing number of years. The work makes use of popular music from the last few decades, where they are used as a frame for my performances.

What my performances represent is a self aware understanding of the disconnect between my physical body and the 'bodies' of the original singer of the song, and by using the song, the lyrics and digital media, emphasising the queer power this disconnect has. I can never be the pop starlet, no matter how hard I try, and I argue that this failed attempt is a pathetically beautifully comment on the modern media and the impact on 'everyday' people.

The videos stand between parody and sincerity, relying on traditional drag pastiche techniques and my own love for the music. I would never perform a song I didn't love, nor should the performance be taken wholly serious. The music is generally chosen as an attempt to unlock a meaning that is either hidden, or coded in its original form. See, No Ordinary Love, where homoerotic themes become dominant. This is a theme inspired by the work of Jeremy Deller, who regularly uses music he loves and places them in a, unexpected context, to unlock new meanings.

The lyrics of the songs chosen are of particular interest to me. By removing their original context, and placing them in my own performance, they are open to more critical understanding. I do this as a homage to the Inflammatory Essays by Jenny Holzer, who aims to destabilise certain modes of language by dissolving all authority and transforming them into disembodied statements. While the disembodiment in my work is less extreme, I instead 'house' the lyric in a new form, stripping them of their intended use but always haunted by the popularity of the original. The lyric is incredibly potent, the words have as much impact on me as anything produced by Holzer, Titchner or Kruger.

Gender plays a huge part in the construction of these videos. As a male body performing female pop songs, most of which revolve around heterosexual love, the original meaning is already blurred. This is further questioned by the feminisation of my own performance, which regularly mimics the conventions of the female pop music video. The video itself becomes a narcissistic presentation, an act of self love dedicated to the popstar. As Amelia Jones has described the work of previous artists and narcissistic values in their work, "Narcissus was 'feminised' through his failure. An ultimately fatal oscillatory state of flux between conventional positions of subject and object." My privileged state of 'masculinity' is replaced by a failed attempt at 'feminine' self adoration, therefore blurring the line between the artist and artwork. This breakdown between gender and traditional art roles is an abjection, a queering of the regular pop and art convention.

In the words of En Vogue, 'Free your mind...the rest will follow'. The rest? My body, your mind, the world?