I. The ethics of exposure: our virgins and our whores
In May 2016, Chloe Sevigny shared an Instagram post of herself at the Met Breuer picking out a piece of cellophane-wrapped candy from Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) (1991), which is often understood as a representation of his lover’s body weight before his eventual death from AIDS-related illness. In all installments of this work, audience members are allowed to take a piece of candy diminishing the weight in the process. The post has 11,600 likes.
Dolly Parton Presentation for the VCS Symposium in May 2013
What I want to offer here is a cautionary tale to illustrate the hazards of expecting emotion to predictably determine action.
But first, much of my thesis research has taken me into the realm of what has been coined “affect theory.” Really, this designation means a lot of things, in a lot of different ways. Very generally it signals an interest in another realm of communication, that isn’t necessarily pre-linguistic or extra-linguistic, but aims to complicate concepts of how language functions, in some interesting ways.