queer poet and visual artist. @leromanovs on insta
Exile, Erasure, and Embodiment: A Retrospective Reconfiguring of the Works of Ana Mendieta
In 2018, the New York Times ran an electronic obituary entitled, “Overlooked No More: Ana Mendieta, A Cuban Artist Who Pushed Boundaries”. Directly below the title is a black and white photograph of a woman with long dark hair, her face dappled with sunlight, her eyes unfocused. Under that, is printed the diminutive italicized disclaimer, “Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.” For reference, Ana died in 1985. Her husband at the time, the evidently more preeminent minimalist sculptor Carl Andre, explained to emergency services that they had been fighting when suddenly she had “somehow gone out of the window” of their 34th floor apartment in Greenwich Village. She was thirty-six.
If I’m Being Totally Honest, Whenever People Bring Up Radical Queer Futurities, All I Can Think About is Alicia Vikander in “Ex Machina”
I suppose I’m relatively educated. I say this, not to brag or establish any ethos whatsoever, but to reveal the extent of my current conundrum. I’ve spent hours pouring over the staples (serious and absurd) on Queer Futurity: from Cruising Utopia to Females to “The SCUM Manifesto”. I’ve submerged myself in the works of Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Susan Stryker, Akwaeke Emezi, Audrienne Rich, David Wojnarowicz, Angela Davis, Jos Charles, Robert Mapplethorpe, James Baldwin, Judith butler, Nella Larson, and Michel Foucault (although admittedly, the History of Sexuality will always be something of an obnoxious enigma to me). I have been privileged with a wonderful educational foundation, surrounded by some of the brightest minds to have ever studied queer potentialities. And yet, the second that anyone brings up the concept of Queer Futurities, all I can think about is how breathtaking Alicia Vikander is in her role as Ava in Alex Garland’s sci-fi masterpiece “Ex Machina”. Let me elaborate.
Her body was a worn out thing, all bruises and aches-- a rental’s body. On her days off, she wore long-sleeved woolen jumpers, the cheap kind that scratched and irritated her eczema, to hide the IV marks that dappled her inner arm. The soft skin there itched perpetually, a side effect of scheduling more clients than the weekly-recommended number that the CDC republished every so often. But it was better to be covered up. After all, her arms were a giveaway.