Kelsey Halliday Johnson
Sumi ink on archival pigment print
20” x 27”
Created for A POSSIBLE PRACTICE 2019, in conversation with K-Ming Chang’s poem “Etymology of butch.” About this piece and practice, Kelsey Halliday Johnson notes, “The fact that butch could root itself in butcher, that there is an act of aggression that has to be inserted in the gendered presentation of something is inherently alienating to me and immediately made me want to return to the butcher, to subvert it’s parental word in etymology entirely. Whether it’s gender fluidity in a variety of different fish species or Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, the etymology of a word like ‘butch’ disavows both the natural world and utopian futures we could have. Gender self-actualization has to be seen as a nonviolent path of giving abundance to the body, not slaughtering it. […] I’ve been playing with archival photographs of butcher shops, a historically masculine space and gendered profession (like so many). With ink and watercolor I’ve been kind of obliterating the bodies in them or rendering them neutral voids.”
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Photo by Megan Jones.