'In My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You', 2016
5-channel HD video, colour, sound; installation
Edition of 5 + 2 AP
In ‘My Little Corner of the World, Anyone Would Love You’, Hayes is particularly looking at queer and feminist archives in the US and the UK documenting gay liberation, women’s liberation as well as the pre-lesbian liberation movements: Daughters of Bilitis (US) and Minorities Research Group (UK). Hayes is interested in the specific limits of gender, the anti-racist work done by lesbian, queer and transpeople of color to combat racism in white lesbian feminist groups and the historic and contemporary ways in which feminist, lesbian and queer political collectivities have expanded and constrained gender expression.
Additionally, Hayes’ work engages the intimacies of political collectives–both at times when movements are ascendant and at those times when they fail. Working from the content and form of archival materials, particularly the vast field of newsletters, Hayes will restage some of the affective forms of organization she encountered in the archive. Organization of labor, of community, of communication and public relations are of specific interest.
The title of the commission is derived from two sides of an Anita Bryant record (Side A: In My Little Corner of the World; Side B: Anyone Would Love You). Bryant was the US entertainer and Orange Juice spokesperson who became the leader of an anti-gay campaign in 1977 and was subsequently vilified by gay rights groups and activists for her outspoken homophobia.
Hayes is a Philadelphia based artist who uses photography, film, video, sound, and performance to examine the intersection between the personal and the political. An established line of enquiry throughout her multi-disciplinary practice is the transformative power of language. Hayes pays particular attention to the language of twentieth-century protest groups, investigating the history and construction of collective subject formation. She invites viewers and participants to re-experience moments of political and cultural oppression by staging protests, delivering speeches, and re-performing demonstrations. Through these methods of enactment Hayes is engaging in what she calls “oral translation”. Her work highlights the friction between common activities and personal actions- examining how the collective imaginary is built.
Sharon Hayes’ recent series of works, Fingernails on a Blackboard, addressed the persistent violence (physical and non-physical) that attends women who claim attention in public space. It is here where the patriarchal wrath galvanizes its force against politicians’, activists’, advocates’ and the undeclared upstarts ‘efforts to speak. Her new project will build upon these investigations that cover a variety of different political ideological positions.
For Fingernails on a Blackboard Hayes took the 1977 National Women’s Conference in Houston, TX, as a historical point of departure. The primary goal of the conference was to formulate a national plan of action towards gender equality. The conference was attended by over 20,000 women and chaired by New York Congresswoman Bella Abzug. During the conference debates over major topics including the Equal Rights Amendment and reproductive rights became intensely heated. Amidst much general agreement, conference attendees were fiercely divided over abortion rights and lesbian rights and many mainstream