Feature

Homines Uniformis & The Museum of Love & Protest

Mardi Gras Visual

Arts Program

By Emma Size

6 April, 2018

This text is part two in Running Dog’s series covering the Mardi Gras Visual Arts Program. Written in the style of a closet drama, it considers Ross Watson’s ‘Homines Uniformis’ and ‘The Museum of Love & Protest’ at NAS Gallery. 
Link to part one: Story of the Girls & Looking for Langston 

 

THE CAMERA STARES (OUT OF FOCUS, AS IF THE LENS IS CLOSE TO TEARING UP A LITTLE BIT) AT THE BELOVED

THE DIRECTOR (V.O)

I’m sorry that I’m turning you into a spectacle by casting you in my semi-public confessional.

IN A PROTECTIVE GESTURE, THE CAMERA GOES EVEN FURTHER OUT OF FOCUS UNTIL THE BELOVED IS AN ABSTRACT COMPOSITION OF FORM AND COLOURS

THE DIRECTOR (V.O)

I don’t want you to ever feel like your body is not your own.

THE CAMERA PAUSES ON THE BELOVED FOR JUST A SECOND TOO LONG, THEN CUTS TO – A WIDE SHOT OF ROSS WATSON’S GRAND PORTRAITS OF THE MASC4MASC GAZE AT YELLOW HOUSE

YELLOW HOUSE WEBSITE (V.O)

Watson’s world-renowned paintings are a celebration of the male form, both in its uniformed and its natural glory…Homines Uniformis features gay rugby players, naked surfers and pop-star Alfie Arcuri in various states of dress.

PAN OUT TO REVEAL – AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER) STANDING AMONGST THE WORK, ENJOYING MASCULINITY PAINTED AS CARICATURE

THE LOVER (AN ART CRITIC) (V.O)

An archetype may have a referent body but that doesn’t mean that it always refers to a specific body. The Daddy is gendered; a Daddy need not be a certain gender.

CUT TO – THE BELOVED [IN OUR INSTAGRAM DM’S]

Ps. just did a photo shoot but I need to invest in a tripod asap

CUT TO – FULL FRONTAL SELFIE OF THE BELOVED IN CALVIN KLEINS

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER)

An image of a body is an image. It isn’t a body. It’s-

CUT TO – A MOUSE RIGHT CLICKING ON ‘IMAGE’ IN A WORD DOC, IN AN ATTEMPT TO FIND A DEFINITION IMPLIED IN A LIST OF SYNONYMS

copy
twin
double
duplicate
doppelgänger
appearance
look
persona
aura
air

CUT TO – A PHOTOMONTAGE OF ROSS WATSON’S GAY MALE PORTRAITS, INTERCUT WITH THE CAMERA’S CANONICAL AFFAIRS WITH MALE ATHLETES, PORN STARS AND MODELS

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER) (V.O)

Gay aesthetics aren’t Venus emerging from the ocean: they weren’t invented out of nothing and they can’t avoid their lineage.

CUT TO – THE ENDURING MOTIF OF THE JOCK STRAP ON GAY INSTAGRAM

Adonis is reanimating; gayness is in retrograde.

CUT TO – A PHOTOMONTAGE OF ROSS WATSON’S GAY MALE PORTRAITS INTERCUT WITH GAY INSTAGRAM THIRST TRAPS

THE LOVER (AN ART CRITIC) (V.O)

I go back to Homines Uniformes with you. I walk a few steps behind you, looking at you look. I want to see it through your eyes, just like I feel your libido second-hand. I look through you and into Brokeback Mountain.

THE DIRECTOR (V.O)

Does he feel the fascism that gives his libido prompts from off-stage?

CUT TO – A SUPERCUT OF ALL THE OLYMPIA-ESQUE WHITE MUSCLE-MEMORIALISING CAMERA ANGLES IN PERSONAL BEST (1982) INTERCUT WITH SIMILAR SHOTS IN OLYMPIA (1938)

THE LOVER (AN ART CRITIC) (V.O)

Lesbianism is a problem I’m close to solving for myself; it’s hard to reduce queer desire to anything less than the slow process of becoming a gender auteur, who curates contradictory iconographies into a collage of displaced, rerouted fantasies.

CUT TO – THE MUSEUM OF LOVE AND PROTEST AT NAS – OPENING NIGHT

Museum of Love & Protest, Installation view
curated by Susan Charlton
Courtesy National Art School
Image credit: Peter Morgan

THE CAMERA zooms in on the hands and faces and cropped anatomies of a not-so-art-going audience. Skipping between smiles, microgestures of salutation and physical expressions of camaraderie, THE CAMERA observes a generation of L’s and G’s relating in a way that reads like a memorial for LGBT.

THE LOVER (AN ART CRITIC) (V.O)

You will take your place in the new vocabulary too, but right now I don’t know how to look at you with a love that doesn’t squint or cringe.

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER) pans around and out of the room.

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER) (V.O)

A eulogy isn’t really a conversation.

CUT TO – AN OPEN IMESSAGE TEXT BEING DRAFTED AND RE-DRAFTED AND RE-DRAFTED TO THE BELOVED:

I’m sorry if it seems like I’m being dramatic all the time-

[BACKSPACE ALL]

I’m sorry I’ve seemed distant lately-

[BACKSPACE ALL]

Ok so this is really hard to say but I want you to know that

[BACKSPACE ‘I want you to know that’]

I need you to know that I’m trying my bes-

[BACKSPACE ALL]

Can we postpone tomorrow night? Sorry to be a pain!

[SEND]

THE LOVER (AN ART CRITIC)

My dad tells me that people are mirrors to our own desires; we’re attracted to what we wish we were. We’re averse to what we can’t stand in ourselves. My mum tells me that we spend our lives finding substitutes for the people who originally loved (and hurt) us. The conversations don’t really change; we just cast different people in the same problems.

CUT BACK TO – THE BELOVED [IN OUR INSTAGRAM DM’S]

Ok so this is not the final pic
But here’s my concept

CUT TO – MANNEQUINS POSING AS THE BODIES THAT ONCE WORE THE COSTUMES DISPLAYED IN THE MUSEUM OF LOVE AND PROTEST

CUT BACK TO – THE BELOVED [IN OUR INSTAGRAM DM’S]

I sorta like the vibes of low budget
And my face in that one I sent being like a pose

CUT TO – INSTAGRAMS OF WATER

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER)

But what body isn’t a double?

CUT TO – THE BURGEONING REALISATION THAT I LIKE THE NICHE MICRO-TRENDS OF NATURE-BASED TRANSMASCULINITY AND SLY TRANS DIGS AT GAY MALE DESIRE ON MY INSTAGRAM FEED WAY MORE THAN RIPPED GAY MEN IN CK’S HOLDING FLOWERS

CUT BACK TO – THE BELOVED [IN OUR INSTAGRAM DM’S]

But I can’t receeate
*recreate
*nup
What I’m trying to say is
Nup I cant recreate

CUT TO – TWO OPTIONS OF SEFLIES, EACH WITH A DIFFERENT FILTER

CUT BACK TO – THE BELOVED [IN OUR INSTAGRAM DM’S]

Which edit do you prefer

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER)

I think, a lot, about how I should turn myself into words –

CUT TO – A MOUSE RIGHT CLICKING ON ‘TURN’ IN A WORD DOC

go
try
shot
chance
crack
opportunity
fit
attack
spasm

AN ART CRITIC (THE LOVER)

If trying to fit yourself into representation is a chance, I don’t want to waste it being [history]. We’ve already been [history]. We already are [history].

CUT TO – A PASTICHE OF MARDI GRAS AS CO-OPTED GLITTER MONEY SHOT, MARDI GRAS AS ALL-NIGHT POLITICAL HANGOVER DRUG RAVE, MARDI GRAS AS POLICE BRUTALITY MONTAGE, MARDI GRAS AS ONCE-A-YEAR RITUAL OF REMEMBERING, MARDI GRAS AS MAINSTREAM UNDERGROUND IN THE MAIN STREET, MARDI GRAS AS STRAIGHT WHITE GIRLS NIGHT OUT, MARDI GRAS AS ETC. & ETC. & ETC.

CUT TO – AN IMESSAGE CONVERSATION WITH THE BELOVED

THE BELOVED

I decided to buy the novel call me by your name
You may have heard of it
Anyway there’s a line in the first chapter ‘I took a long swill from a large bottle of mineral water, passed it to him, then drank from it again’
And it’s like subtly showing the mirroring of their identities in each other. Which culminates in them calling each other by their own name
Anyway thought that was cool the end x

 

CUT BACK TO – THE CAMERA STARING AT THE BELOVED AS AN ABSTRACT COMPOSITION OF FORM AND COLOURS

Ross Watson: HOMINES UNIFORMIS
22 February - 4 March
Yellow House

The Museum of Love & Protest
16 February - 4 March
NAS Gallery

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